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HARRISON, NY-To get the long vacant 400 Westchester Ave. building up to snuff, the building owner–GHP Office Purchasing LLC–and Fordham University will spend a combined $8 million in capital improvements to the former Verizon Communications property. The university has signed a 20-year lease for the entire 62,500-sf building that will become its new Westchester campus beginning in September 2008.

Andrew Greenspan, principal of GHP Office Realty of White Plains, says, “The building has been vacant for some time and is in poor condition.” Improvements planned by the ownership include a new energy-efficient roof, mechanical systems and curtail wall. GHP will also make a contribution to the tenant improvements to be undertaken by Fordham University to convert the space to classroom use, he adds. GHP Office Purchasing LLC is an entity controlled by GHP Office Realty and locally based Benerofe Properties.

GHP is currently before the Harrison Town Board seeking a clarification in the property’s zoning that would allow for higher-educational use at the class B building. Fordham University, which has put its 25-acre Marymount College campus in Tarrytown on the market for sale, had looked at 32 sites throughout Westchester County before deciding on the Harrison building. GHP Office Realty’s parent, Houlihan-Parnes iCap Realty, served as Fordham’s tenant representative in its search for new space.

The 400 Westchester Ave. building was part of the purchase of a nearly 1.7 million-sf portfolio of Verizon Communications industrial and office space in eight states by GHP Office Purchasing in June of this year. Local sources valued the deal at approximately $150 million.

Since the sale, Greenspan says the GHP entity has sold a total of nine former Verizon buildings in California, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Texas and Illinois to seven different purchasers. At present, another four properties in Iowa, Illinois and Troy, NY are in contract to be sold. He did not provide any financial terms to any of the transactions.

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