Bell-Meyer brings with her over 10 years’ experience working with chambers of commerce and economic development initiatives.
EXCLUSIVE: New York Power Authority Seeks New Corporate Headquarters in Downtown White Plains
NYPA plans to downsize into purpose-built 250,000 sq. ft. Class-A headquarters built with sustainability in mind, and sell current 400,000 sq. ft. HQ at 123 Mainstreet.
WHITE PLAINS—Real Estate In-Depth has learned exclusively that the New York Power Authority is currently reviewing proposals for a brand new 250,000-square-foot Class A state-of-the-art corporate headquarters in Downtown White Plains and a decision on the utility’s new site requirement could come in three to four months.
One of the options the New York Power Authority is considering is financing a build-to-suit headquarters building in Downtown White Plains along with a sale or partnership for its more than 400,000 square-foot existing office building for possible redevelopment. If those deals were finalized, it would no doubt be easily valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and economic benefit to the city and region.
The firm, currently headquartered at 123 Main St. in Downtown White Plains, issued a Request for Proposal on Aug. 18 and is currently reviewing multiple proposals it has received, according to a number of knowledgeable real estate sources. The due date on the New York Power Authority’s RFP was Nov. 17 and developer interviews are scheduled for this month and January 2024. The company currently employs approximately 900 workers at its White Plains office building. The RFP is explicit in that the company’s search for a new corporate headquarters site is limited to the White Plains Central Business District.
According to the RFP, although the Power Authority cautioned prospective proposers that dates could be subject to change, the company hopes to make an award in February or March of 2024 and have the project substantially completed by June 2028.
The company’s RFP offers prospective developers two options:
“Option A — Propose an acquisition solution for a new purpose-built state-of-the-art Class A office headquarters within the White Plains central business district market.”
“Option B—Propose a disposal offer for NYPA’s current property at 123 Main Street, White Plains, New York, 10601.”
In terms of the new corporate headquarters requirement, NYPA appears to be set on owning the new facility and states in the RFP that it is “prepared to provide funding to support the acquisition, development, and construction of Option A.” It later added that in connection with the new corporate headquarters building it would entertain a new construction commercial condominium.
In connection with its disposal of 123 Main St. NYPA would consider a fee-simple sale of the 2.7-acre site within three to six months of selection with a five-year favorable leaseback to NYPA; an option agreement for a fee-simple sale with an upfront payment and extension terms and closing prior to NYPA vacating the structure (upon completion of Option A); or a development agreement and ground lease with an upfront payment to NYPA, fixed base rent, participation rent, and capital event participation for a sustainability-forward project.
The New York Power Authority spells out its intentions in the RFP by stating: “It is intended that any development proposed for Option A does not incorporate the existing property at 123 Main Street as this has been deemed not feasible due to cost and employee impact concerns. For Option B, NYPA is seeking a development partner to purchase, ground lease, or propose a mutually beneficial ownership structure with NYPA for all or a portion of the 123 Main Street property.”
The company added that the solicitation could allow NYPA to select a qualified developer “with which it may negotiate and enter into one or more definitive agreements for a complete turn-key solution to develop and relocate NYPA to its new White Plains Building.”
NYPA’s ‘Workplace of the Future’
In its solicitation, NYPA stated that it has spent considerable time studying its workforce needs and therefore will require the following for its new corporate headquarters:
- a purpose-built state-of-the-art Class A” headquarters with modern employee workstations, facilities, and collaboration spaces;
- sustainable, green building design aligned with NYPA’s mission;
- conferencing and convening space for employees as well as shared space with its customers and public entities;
- parking facilities that provide for a growing electrified fleet;
- exterior spaces that give employees the opportunity to interact with each other and the environment;
- functional amenities that enhance those in the surrounding community;
- incubator and technology zones to support and advance its mission; and
- commercially available office and retail space.
Sources say it is believed that NYPA received a number of proposals from developers/property owners in Downtown White Plains in response to the RFP, including one from Cappelli Development, which is a partner in two major redevelopment projects in Downtown White Plains—the $2.5-billion redevelopment of the former Galleria Mall (Galleria District) and the $650-million redevelopment of the former White Plains Mall (Hamilton Green).
A spokesman for Cappelli Development told Real Estate In-Depth that the firm is aware of the NYPA solicitation and that it did submit a proposal in response to the RFP. The spokesman did not provide any details on Cappelli’s RFP response.
In discussions with knowledgeable real estate sources, if NYPA were to move forward with a new corporate headquarters building in Downtown White Plains, few ground-up sites are available. Among those in play could be: the Galleria District, Hamilton Green and the long-delayed project at the former Westchester Pavilion property being developed by Lennar Multifamily.
Sources also indicate that NYPA was considering relocating to leased space at the Gateway Building prior to the issuance of the RFP, but no deal was finalized.
NYPA has retained brokerage firm JLL as an advisor in its new corporate headquarters requirement. A JLL spokesman had no comment on the NYPA solicitation.
Plans for the 123 Main St. Building
The existing 123 Main St. building rises 16 stories and totals 417,014 square-feet with an integrated six-story, 700-space parking structure. The office property was built in 1981 and acquired by NYPA in 1991.
A clue to the reasons behind NYPA’s quest to build a new corporate headquarters can be found in a section of the RFP when the firm describes its current facilities at 123 Main St.
“Throughout NYPA’s ownership, numerous maintenance and repair projects have been executed to address deterioration specifically of the garage’s structural members. Reported deficiencies in the original design and construction have led the garage to become susceptible to rainwater intrusion, deicing material corrosion, and repetitive freeze-thaw cycle issues. Recent inspection and analysis have concluded that the garage has reached the end of its useful life and was closed in July 2021.” The firm also noted that “temporary shoring and bracing exist throughout the structure determines a path forward. Note also that repair recommendations exist for the garage portion residing beneath the building that will require attention. Additionally, the building tower remains partially modernized with many floors requiring restacking to accommodate a now-flexible workforce and current workspace expectations. Building infrastructure improvements across its core MEP (Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing), HVAC, and fuel systems in addition to the façade, roof, and other building core components are also due for investment.”
NYPA is the largest state electric utility in the country, operating 16 generating facilities capable of producing 6,650 megawatts and more than 1,460 circuit miles of transmission lines. The utility employs more than 2,500 workers state-wide. NYPA produces approximately 70% of New York State’s renewable electricity and 25% of the state’s total electricity. In 2022, 85% of NYPA’s power generation came from clean, renewable hydropower.