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WHITE PLAINS, NY-While he is bullish on the future of Yonkers and the rental housing market in Westchester County, Arthur Collins II says the harsh winter, the troubled economy and corporate downsizing programs have hurt new rental housing developments, including his own Hudson Park project being built on the Yonkers waterfront.

Collins, co-founding principal of Collins Enterprises LLC, says he hopes the economy and the labor market will improve so that tenant activity will pick up.

The veteran Stamford, CT-based developer says that despite current economic conditions, he expects his $60.3 million Hudson Park rental housing development will succeed.

Collins reported that tenants have begun taking occupancy of the first building at Hudson Park. Approximately 40 percent of the first building is currently leased. He added that the second building will be ready for delivery to tenants this August. In total, the project entails 266 luxury rental units and approximately 18,000 sf of retail space. Collins Enterprises is partnering on the Hudson Park project with Simpson Housing LP. of Denver.

A major reason for a downturn in rental activity at Hudson Park and at other new rental housing developments in Westchester was the harsh winter of 2002/2003. He says the winter not only cut tenant traffic but also caused property owners to incur much higher heating costs.

Another critical factor that caused trouble for the rental housing market of late has been the downturn in the economy.

“The rental market has been hammered by the job market,” Collins reports. He adds that construction activity taking place around his Hudson Park development, which is now nearing completion, limited access to the site and may have turned away interested prospects as well.

While noting that the construction around his project may have cut into business, the significant amount of public and private investment around his development is critical to Hudson Park’s future success.

Among the many initiatives either completed or currently underway in downtown Yonkers are: the completed Yonkers Library and Board of Education Building (more than $50 million); the $13 million Esplanade Park, funded by the City of Yonkers, the renovation of the Yonkers Metro North Train Station (a more than $30 million initiative); the renovation of The Gazette Press and Trolley Barn buildings; improvements to the iPark office and industrial park, the construction of the Station Plaza office building and the soon to be opened Xaviar’s Restaurant on the waterfront nearby the Collins project.

A clear sign of Collins’ faith in the city of Yonkers is that his firm has an option to develop an adjoining vacant property (Parcel C), which could be the site of another $70 million housing endeavor. That project would most likely entail both rental and condominium housing. Collins is currently in negotiations with the city to finalize an agreement on the Parcel C site, he notes.

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