Nearly two dozen multimillion-dollar single-family houses are coming to Tarrytown, with the promise of a ritzy renaissance that will build on the historic village's already considerable charms.
Both the northern and southern ends of the 4.5-mile square waterfront community are crawling with construction crews operating heavy equipment. One developer is building $1 million homes while the other one will be marketing $5 million residences. Standard features? Three-car garages, plenty of interior marble, private swimming pools and maybe even the occasional basketball court in the basement -- all within 25 miles from Manhattan.
"In each case, they're building as buyers show up," said Tarrytown supervisor, Mike Blau. "There's no way to know exactly when all this will hit the tax rolls."
For national luxury home builder Toll Brothers, building here marks a return to the county after a five-year absence. The other developer, Broadway on Hudson Estates, is a Long Island-based newcomer. In approving each of the subdivisions' plans, the village required builders to create green space that will, together, give Tarrytown a new village soccer field, nature trails and an expansion of public park space that includes adding nearly two dozen acres to Taxter Ridge Park, a 200-acre preserve in the town of Greenburgh that abuts the village.
A third project for subdividing a 46.6-acre site into lots for 12 houses, is before the planning board. The proposed Jardim Estates East is part of the estate of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean minister who claimed that he was the Messiah. Located in southern Tarrytown, it is part of nearly 400 acres in the area acquired since the mid-1970s by Moon's Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. There are actually no immediate plans to build new homes, according to John Kirkpatrick, the White Plains attorney representing Jardim.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
The arrival of the big money developers has Tarrytown "sort of going full circle again," said Sara Mascia, executive director of The Historical Society Serving Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown.
First settled by the Dutch in the 1640s, it took off as a commuter village in the 1850s with the opening of the Hudson River Rail Road -- now known as Metro-North.
Over-the-top mansions soon followed with the arrival of the Rockefeller family and some of the other wealthiest names in America. But the stock market crash of 1929 led to the sale and subdivision of many estates that continued through the 1950s. In the 1980s, condominiums were added to the mix of split-level homes in a village that offers residents a Main Street filled with antique shops, cafes and restaurants and a waterfront park that is undergoing a full-scale renovation.
Today, as an added bonus, developers are touting that the students living in these new luxury properties are zoned to attend classes in neighboring Irvington, a village that ranks No. 79 on Newsweek's 2012 list of America's Best High Schools. The village also made Forbes' 2012 list of America's prettiest towns.
GRANDEUR ON FORMER GREYSTONE ESTATE
In April 2011, Broadway on Hudson Estates bought what was once Greystone, an estate from the 1800s on South Broadway that was variously occupied by former Chicago mayor and real estate magnate Walter Gurnee as well as retailer Louis Stern of Sterns Department Store fame. The project encompasses Greystone -- along with adjoining parcels to create an 84-acre development that starts in Tarrytown and goes deep into the woods leading to Taxter Ridge Park Preserve in the neighboring town of Greenburgh.
The plan is for 20, $5 million homes on two- to five-acre lots offering panoramic views of the Hudson River. The developer is marketing the homes as over-the-top grandeur reminiscent of the 19th century estates that once glittered along this stretch of Tarrytown.
Each of the six-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot houses will include 10 bathrooms, a private swimming pool, three-car garage, a butler pantry, great rooms and ballrooms, said Andy Todd, president of Broadway on Hudson. Options: tennis courts, home theaters or even a basketball clout in the basement.
Eight homes are slated for Tarrytown, with the remaining 12 planned for Greenburgh. The builder is donating 23.1 acres of woods to extend the Taxter Ridge Park Preserve, and will also build an eight-car parking lot for Taxter Ridge visitors, plus a trail that will connect the park to nearby Old Croton Aqueduct trail.
Work is under way on installing roads, utilities and other infrastructure. Two model homes will be built in 2013; one has been approved by the village and the second is before the planning board.
Todd said that his company believes it has a unique project because of the amount of open land for building secluded, large superluxury homes.
"Southern Westchester is usually house after house after house," said Todd, who added that he hopes to be built and sold out by 2016.
HOMES AND OPEN LAND TOGETHER
Ten out of the 14 available homes have already sold on the 46.5-acre northern Tarrytown site acquired in 2010 by Toll Brothers. The homes are only being built on a 15.7-acre section along Wilson Park Drive, according to the developers. The rest of the land will remain open space for woods, a spruced-up Wilson Park and a new public soccer field.
The houses, which typically range from 3,800 square feet to 5,100 square feet, are zoned for one- and two-acre lots. The average price per house is $1.6 million but that will go up with "customizing opportunities" to add solariums, conservatories, workout rooms and four-car garages, said Christopher Badger, senior project manager.
Buyers are a mix of "empty-nesters, young families and move-up buyers," he added.
The 6,200-square-foot, fully furnished model home, which opened in January 2012, was recently purchased. Hopes are to sell the four remaining lots over the next three months, according to Badger.
With low interest rates, "there is so much pent-up demand," Badger said.