WHITE PLAINS-Except to say that it was closing its wholesale loan-production operations in Westchester, specifics about the downsizing of Argent Mortgage’s operations are still sketchy. But the move is likely to have lasting implications on the county’s market and the Downtown White Plains availability rate.

Last week ACC Capital Holdings, the Orange, CA-based parent of subprime lender Argent Mortgage, announced a reduction in its work force across all lines of its business and noted that it was centralizing its retail origination and portfolio retention operations to Southern California and consolidating its New York wholesale loan production operations to facilities in Illinois. It is believed the company’s wholesale loan production operations were housed at 44 South Broadway (also known as the Westchester One office building) in Downtown White Plains. Those Argent Mortgage operations were shut down last week.

Argent also leases a considerable amount of space at 333 Westchester Ave., in White Plains. An ACC Capital Holdings spokesman, says that some sales and “other functions remain in New York.” However, he did not provide any further specifics on how many employees were let go and the size of its present operation in White Plains. Last year Argent pared down its work force at its Westchester offices that at one time totaled approximately 1,000 workers.

Cushman & Wakefield, the exclusive leasing agent for Argent Mortgage, confirms to GlobeSt.com that all of Argent’s space at 44 South Broadway, which totals approximately 325,000 sf, and all of its space at 333 Westchester Ave., about 210,000 sf, is available for sublease. Officials with the respective building owners, Beacon Capital Partners of Boston (44 South Broadway) and Cohen Brothers Realty Corp. of New York City (333 Westchester Ave.) had no comment on Argent’s leases at their properties. It is believed the subprime lender has several years remaining on its leases at both properties.

Reports from the brokerage community, prior to the latest downsizing program, was that while more than 535,000 sf of its space was on the sublease market, and the firm would likely remain in one of the two properties. Now that further cuts have been made, brokers are left to wonder if the firm has any use for most if not all of that space.

In announcing the consolidation program, ACC Capital Holdings executives stated, “This is a very challenging non-prime market. Only companies with the ability to control costs and improve loan quality are going to be successful. While extremely difficult, these changes will strengthen ACH’s financial position, increase our efficiency and improve our cost structure–enabling the company to leverage the opportunities created by consolidation in the non-prime industry.”

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