Organization Name: Regions First Sterling
Project Title: The Cupola Building
Project Location: Elmsford, NY
Chappaqua Crossing is an adaptive reuse of the former Reader’s Digest Pleasantville campus, an expansive site consisting of several buildings that will be transformed into a vibrant mix of commercial and residential space.
In the early 2000’s after 70 years in Chappaqua, Reader’s Digest re-branded and moved their operations to Manhattan, leaving behind the sprawling campus. The magazine’s main offices were located inside a stunning four story Georgian-style brick building, dubbed the “Cupola Building,” with unique historic features including a striking cupola and an impressive circular library with floor to ceiling architectural mill work and 16 foot arched windows. Under the direction of Wilder Balter Partners, the 77 year old building is undergoing a $21 million renovation to bring housing opportunities to renters of all levels in this exclusive part of Westchester County.
The redevelopment will transform the Cupola Building into 64 mixed-income residential units of workforce family housing with a target market including households earning at or below 40%, 60% and 90% AMI levels and market rate units. Affordable units are spread throughout the building, all with easy access to amenities and many with unique floorplans. Amenities include a fitness center, yoga studio, community room and the “Editorial Library” featuring restored wood paneling from original construction. The site includes 50 acres of permanent open space with extensive walking trails, two interior courtyards and an exterior playground. A jitney bus will provide residents with transportation to the Village of Chappaqua and nearby Metro North train station promoting walkable, transit oriented development for residents.
Westchester County has the highest AMI in New York State, top notch public schools and is in close proximity to commercial services, parks, activities and public transportation to NYC. Of the few options low income renters have in Westchester, none will match the quality or condition of Chappaqua Crossing as nearly 75% of rental housing in the area was built prior to 1980. With wait lists present for all affordable housing in the market area, there is a significant demand for mixed income housing.
Wilder Balter expertly navigated an open dialogue with the Town of New Castle, avoiding feelings of NIMBY and gaining community backing as well as financing from state and local government agencies. Redevelopment of the Reader’s Digest Campus will bring life back to the sprawling 114 acres and preserve a cherished community icon that sat unused for over a decade.
After collaborating on joint ventures with their own real estate companies, Bob Wilder and Bill Balter came together in 1996 to form Wilder Balter Partners. Today, Wilder Balter owns and manages thirty properties with over 3,000 units in the New York Metro area. With an emphasis on open communication with local residents and municipal leaders, they build well-planned neighborhoods with high performing homes that provide a great lifestyle for residents. The real estate company’s vertical integration enables them to operate seamlessly; Griffin Associates oversees construction management and general contracting services while W.B. Residential is responsible for property management. Mr. Balter concentrates on construction, new business development and working with communities while Mr. Wilder focuses on planning, financing, construction and development. Together, their solid credentials and complimentary expertise provide superior affordable housing for New York residents.