Business Opportunity: Navigating New York’s Stringent Regulatory Requirements
In 2003, Thomas J. Schwarz, President of Purchase College, State University of New York, assembled a task force of faculty and staff to determine how to best fulfill the College’s commitment to life-long learning. The outcome was to develop a senior living community on campus focused on intergenerational and life-long learning. The New York State legislature enacted legislation in 2011 authorizing the site’s use for development and operation of Broadview – Senior Living at Purchase College.
The goals of Broadview are to support the educational mission of the College through the provision of revenue to fund scholarships for students, enhance the College’s ability to compete for faculty dedicated to transformative engagement with the student body, and create an environment fostering inquiry based, intergenerational learning. Through Broadview, the College will become a center for life-long learning. It will offer students of all ages unique, non-conventional access to opportunities for intellectual and social growth through academic, cultural, and social activities.
With the guidance of LCS Development (LCSD), An LCS® Company, the project’s timeline has advanced efficiently and smoothly while under tight scrutiny due to its high profile as an unconventional use of State land. Broadview is subject to the legislation that permitted the use of the state land for this purpose, called the Enabling Act.
The Enabling Act provides and requires among other things:
- Ability to lease the site for 75 years
- Ability to build up to 385 residential units on the site
- Proceeds from operations must go to scholarships and additional faculty
- 20% of the residences must be affordable to those at 80% of median income in Westchester County with 50% of affordable residences reserved for residents of Westchester County
- All labor for construction and operations must be at prevailing wage
As a significant project, final entitlement of the project was required through the process known as the New York State Environmental Quality Review (“SEQR”) by applying the guidelines of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”). Purchase College selected LCSD and its partner, Senior Care Development, as its development partner and Life Care Services to market and manage the project. LCSD was chosen based on its previous experience with startups and depth of services, including marketing and sales, in addition to senior living management.
The SEQR process requires that the project be reviewed by all entities that might be significantly impacted by the project. For the Broadview project, approximately four agencies were identified, including local municipalities and utility providers. The process requires the drafting of an Environmental Impact Statement that is made available to the involved agencies and the public. Public meetings are then held to receive comments. Once the comments have been addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement, a Final Environmental Impact Statement is published, and after a comment period, becomes accepted. With the help of LCSD, Broadview completed this complex process in approximately 18 months.
Broadview is not a CCRC under New York law; instead, it is a Senior Residential Community developed under the statute that governs condominiums, co-ops and senior residential communities. In order to take monetary deposits from prospective residents, an Offering Plan must be filed and approved by the Real Estate Finance Bureau within the New York State Office of the Attorney General. LCSD received the approval of the Offering Plan in March of 2019, and started taking 10% deposits in May.
Marketing of the project began in summer of 2018 and conversions to 10% deposits began in May. Currently, construction is estimated to begin in 2020.
When construction begins in fall of 2020, the first phase will consist of 174 independent living apartment homes, 46 detached and semi-attached homes, a commons building, 36 assisted living beds, and 36 memory care beds. Plans for the second phase of Broadview call for the construction of up to an additional 165 independent living apartment homes.
In keeping with the mission and purpose of life-long learning, each independent living residence in Broadview will have either a separate study, or a dedicated study nook. The community building will contain a dedicated learning commons, as well as other amenities including a library, theatre, spa, health and wellness, dining venues, game rooms, social gathering spaces, marketing and sales offices, and back-of-house facilities.
The learning commons will be open to both Broadview residents and the College community providing a space where residents, students, and faculty come together for programmed and informal gatherings. The learning commons will include classrooms, art studios, performance spaces, and a cafe-style dining venue.
Broadview closed on its $15 million bond anticipation notes (BANs) pre-construction funding in October 2018. The Offering Plan was achieved as planned and LCS commenced 10% deposit sales in May.
Through experience and proficiency at every phase of development, LCSD provides guidance in selecting the appropriate regulatory approach utilizing the expertise of the LCS in-house compliance department. Broadview, with the support of LCSD, efficiently created a site plan and building architecture that is financially efficient, operationally effective, and aesthetically fitting for its location on the campus and in the nearby Purchase neighborhood.