$54-Million Senior Project in Rockland County Reaches Critical Development Milestone

$54-Million Senior Project in Rockland County Reaches Critical Development Milestone
From left, Village of Montebello Attorney Warren E. Berbit; Village of Montebello Deputy Mayor Stacy Caridi; M&T Bank Senior Vice President Kristina Hendrickson; FilBen Group Managing Director Richard Filaski; Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael B. Specht; Filben Group Managing Director Joshua Benenson; Village of Montebello Mayor Lance Millman; Filben Group Managing Director David Filaski; Filben Group Manager of Development Jessica Cotellese; Filben Group Director of Community Relations Danielle DiBenedetto; H2M Senior Architect Mark McKee, AIA; McAlpine Contracting Project Manager David Nicklas; Rockland IDA Executive Director Steven Porath and McAlpine Contracting Executive Vice President John Nolan. PHOTO BY PETER WILK/WILK MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

MONTEBELLO, NY—On May 30, Owner/Developer FilBen Group, equity partner RSF Partners, general contractor McAlpine Contracting, and designer H2M Architects + Engineers celebrated the “First Floor Rising” event, which marked the completion of foundations and the beginning of the above-ground construction phase for Braemar at Montebello.

The development, when completed, will feature a 200-resident, 133,675-square foot, four-level luxury assisted living residence located on 6.2 acres at 250 Lafayette Ave. in Montebello. The property will provide assisted living and memory care services. Construction on the project began in January of this year.

“Today we celebrate an important construction milestone for the new Braemar Montebello community. We expect senior residents of Rockland County, the Lower Hudson Valley, as well as the greater New York area and northern New Jersey, to be attracted to the active lifestyle and luxurious amenities that this community will offer,” said Richard Filaski, Managing Director of FilBen Group.

The property is close to Harriman State Park in Rockland County and is adjacent to a larger site that includes the Montebello commercial center, which will offer residents access to retail, entertainment, dining, and medical services within close proximity of their home.

Braemar is a brand of Stamford, CT-based FilBen-owned and operated senior living communities. The first property, the Braemar at Medford in Medford, NY, opened its doors in 2008. The Braemar at Wallkill in Middletown, NY, the second property to open under the brand, welcomed its first residents in 2015. The Montebello community will be the third Braemar-branded residence when it opens in 2024. FilBen plans to begin construction of its fourth property, a 152-bed assisted living community in Carmel, NY, in early 2023.

“This $54-million project will add a beautiful, high quality senior care residence for the Montebello and Rockland County communities,” said McAlpine Vice President John Nolan. “Because of the location of the future building on a sloping site, which will offer breathtaking views to the residents, the project presents several technical and logistical challenges to the construction and design team. For example, construction of foundations and the structural system will proceed in a phased, staggered manner to accelerate the schedule, while addressing access and site engineering complexities,” he added.

“Those of us who know Montebello love and appreciate it as a wonderful place to live. We are committed to maintaining this high standard and look forward to Braemar further enriching the lives of local families and seniors. Braemar at Montebello will be another jewel in the crown of FilBen Group’s portfolio and a valuable new member of Montebello’s business community. Welcome and good luck,” said Lance Millman, Mayor of the Village of Montebello.

The total development cost of the project is $54 million, including $36 million in construction costs. The owner/developer is a partnership between FilBen Group and RSF Partners, a private equity firm based in Dallas, TX. M&T Bank provided a $34.8-million construction loan. The development will receive a sales tax exemption of up to $1,976,809 for state and local sales taxes as well as a mortgage recording exemption in the amount of $360,055.50 from the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency. Upon completion, the community will employ up to 115 senior care and support personnel.

“Tax incentives are a key element in securing the type of quality development the Braemar Montebello project provides,” said Steven Porath, Executive Director of the Rockland IDA. “The value of the financial incentives provided to this project will be returned to the community many times over through the healthcare and economic benefits Braemar Montebello will deliver to our community,” he added.

A rendering of the $54-million Braemar at Montebello senior assisted living development currently under construction.

The building will feature shared public spaces on the main, second, and third levels. A total of 133 residential units—66 private, one-person studio units of approximately 400-square feet each and 67 two-bedroom semi-private “Friendship” units of approximately 600-square feet each—will be located on these levels, while additional 12 private and 10 Friendship units will be located on the lower level in a memory care section. The private units are studios with kitchenettes and private baths. The Friendship units have two bedrooms that share a kitchenette and bathroom. All kitchenettes and bathrooms are barrier-free and include roll-in showers.

The development will also feature a host of amenities. The visitor entrance on the main level will lead from the south parking lot into a two-story, 22-foot high cathedral-ceilinged atrium with a stone and wood reception desk, a tiled fireplace, and comfortable seating. Two passenger elevators, one service elevator, and two additional stairs will provide vertical access and emergency egress to all levels.

Administrative offices will be located adjacent to the reception area, but the majority of the remaining spaces in the central section and east wing of the main level will be occupied by common spaces. The primary public space is the 3,500-square foot main dining room that extends out from the north façade to offer 180-degree views of the surrounding vistas. A private dining room will also be available for celebrations and private dinners. Other amenities include a pub and game room, a café, business lounge, general store, arts and crafts room, family lounge with an adjacent kids’ room, beauty salon, and coffee shop. A fitness center will be located adjacent to a wellness center, which will be equipped with a waiting area, exam room, medication room, offices for the director and staff, and a records storage room. Residents can also take advantage of a 940-square-foot parlor that will open onto a 1,000-square foot outdoor terrace. The parlor will share a double-sided fireplace with the adjacent 510-square-foot library. A 1,080-square foot cinema and a chapel will complete the public spaces.

The Braemar at Montebello ownership purchased the property on August 3, 2022 in a deal brokered by Rand Commercial. Paul Adler, Esq., SIOR, Chief Strategy Officer for Rand Commercial, represented the seller and the buyer in the transaction.

FilBen Group is comprised of the Filaski and Benenson families that have worked together for more than 40 years to build, own, and operate senior housing and healthcare facilities in the New York metropolitan area. To date, the principals of FilBen have built more than 5,000 nursing-home beds, of which they owned 1,300 and operated over 800. The firm currently owns and operates 400 assisted living beds with another 352 beds under development.

In addition to constructing and operating its own facilities, FilBen offers the full spectrum of development and management services, including site selection, development, construction, and project management as well as healthcare program development and operation to other senior care providers. FilBen principals have worked with numerous large not-for-profit agencies, such as Catholic Charities and Senior Citizen Housing Committee, to create more than 1,400 units of independent senior housing. Most recently, the firm has been retained to manage a new assisted living residence owned by the Greek Orthodox Church, which is scheduled to open in Uniondale, NY in 2024.

RSF Partners is a boutique private equity firm based in Dallas, TX that invests in niche subsectors of the real estate market.  Established in 1991, McAlpine Contracting is a leading new construction and interior fit-out general contractor and construction manager operating throughout the greater New York Area, including New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Lower Hudson Valley as well as in Vermont. Headquartered in Manhattan, the firm has a portfolio of completed seniors housing, multi-family residential, commercial, and institutional projects totaling in excess of $2 billion in value.

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