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PURCHASE, NY-In a deal that brings its office holdings on the Westchester Ave./I-287 corridor to more than 300,000 sf, the RPW Group of White Plains has acquired 2975 Westchester Ave. here from Ivy Equities for $18.5 million.

Cushman & Wakefield senior directors Glenn Walsh, George Lambros III and Patrick R. Colwell represented the seller and the buyer in the deal for the five-story, 120,393-sf office building. C & W officials say this is the largest office building sale so far this year in Westchester County. The deal worked out to more than $150 per sf, according to company estimates.

Robert Weisz, president of RPW Group, said his firm expressed interest in the 2975 Westchester Ave. building last year when it purchased 244 Westchester Ave. from Ivy. RPW paid $13.6 million in 2002 for that 85,000-sf office building. The company also owns the Harrison Court complex nearby. While not interested in any deal in 2002, officials with Ivy Equities contacted the RPW Group earlier this year stating that the 2975 Westchester Ave. building was available for sale.

Weisz says that at the time of closing, the 2975 Westchester Ave. building was 80% occupied, but leases currently in negotiation would put the building at approximately 95% occupancy, if those leases are finalized. The building’s largest tenants are Verizon, which leases about 28,000 sf of space and Paraco Gas, which occupies approximately 12,000 sf.

Colwell says that the demand for commercial office property in the Westchester-Fairfield area exceeds the supply of buildings for sale at the moment. He adds that buyers have been aggressively bidding on the properties it currently represents in the market.

Weisz says, “It’s a good time to buy real estate in Westchester County. Interest rates are low and there has been no new commercial office construction in the county in the last 15 years. Also, space is rather tight right now in most markets.”

He predicts that by late 2004, most markets in Westchester County will have single digit office vacancy rates.

The RPW Group currently owns approximately one million sf of space in Westchester and Fairfield County, CT. Most of its holdings are located in Westchester where it currently maintains a 95% occupancy rate at its buildings.

Weisz says that his firm hopes to obtain all the necessary municipal approvals by the end of this year in order to build 250 Westchester Ave., a planned four-story, 80,000-sf office building to be constructed nearby 244 Westchester Ave. in Harrison. Construction on the $15 million project could begin by mid-2004, with occupancy scheduled for sometime in 2005, he notes.

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