The real estate developer responsible for Pelham Bay’s upscale Hutchinson Metro Center closed on a prime piece of Westchester Square property on Thursday, December 18.
Simone Development will rework 2510 Westchester Avenue, a three-story building, when Verizon packs up in June. Verizon currently operates a call-center at the location, and confirmed the deal.
“We feel great about this acquisition,” said Simone Development president Joseph Simone. “We’re already in the Bronx in a big way. We believe in the Westchester Square area and we’ll continue to invest in it.”
Also last month, Simone Development purchased a portfolio of nearby industrial buildings from Schildwachter & Sons, a Ferris Place-based oil company. According to Simone, the portfolio includes half a dozen industrial buildings – some close to Westchester Creek. He didn’t reveal the terms of either sale.
Simone did outline his plans for 2510 Westchester Avenue. Simone Development will lease the structure’s Westchester Square-level floor to retailers. Above and below, clinicians will set up shop.
“It’s going to be a mixed-use building,” Simone said. “We’re working on a design now. The medical offices will generate good traffic, and bring people to the area.”
According to Simone, 2510 Westchester Avenue will accommodate medical leases who prefer Westchester Square to the Hutchinson Metro Center. He expects the building to open for business this fall.
“Some medical providers need an urban location,” he said. “Here, they’ll be across the street from public transportation.”
John Bonizio, president of the Westchester Square Merchants Association, is confident that Simone Development has the square’s best interest at heart.
“Simone has been a very responsible player in the development of the Westchester Square area,” Bonizio said. “We always enjoy the class they bring to the table. With the Hutchinson Metro Center on Waters Avenue, developing Westchester Square is in their best interest too.”
Bonizio hopes Simone Development will lease to private physicians and physical therapists rather than free medical clinics. Free clinics, he explained, wouldn’t benefit the square commercially.
“The people at Verizon were good neighbors for many years,” Bonizio said. “If Simone takes on good neighbors, we’ll be happy.
Simone Development doesn’t plan to renovate its Schildwachter properties, but will “freshen them up a bit” with new paint and other cosmetic improvements.