Building dreams

Luxury developer Andy Todd has always been entrepreneurial.

It’s in the genes. His father, Al Dicker — Todd now uses his middle name as a last name  — was a special education teacher in the Bronx who founded the Dicker Reading Method in Scarsdale.

It’s designed, Todd says, to teach anyone how to read, including the learning disabled, through the creation of a nonjudgmental environment and the use of repetition.

Todd’s mother, Debbie Dicker, owned the now-defunct Village Goldsmith in the Heathcote section of Scarsdale for many years.

For the Hartsdale-raised Todd — co-founder with Barry Prevor of Greystone-on-Hudson, a 100-acre luxury development on the former Josiah W. Macy Jr. estate in Tarrytown — the biz bug bit early. After attending Greenburgh and White Plains public schools — he played basketball, soccer and track at Woodlands High School in Hartsdale — Todd continued his love affair with basketball at the State University of New York at Binghamton. After an away game at the University of Maryland during his sophomore year, he and a classmate noticed the school’s fraternity-sorority shop, its apparel emblazoned with Greek letters. They hit upon the idea of starting one back at SUNY Binghamton. Todd turned it into a business that he later sold privately.

After a number of other ventures, he wound up in real estate. Things seem to happen accidentally, he says. But listen to him talk over coffee and tea at Tarrytown’s sustainable, pooch-friendly Coffee Labs Roasters — with its black Labrador décor — and you realize that his success is no accident. 

Here he is on why he became a developer:  “It’s just incredibly fun to me at the end of the day to create something that wasn’t there before, learn from your mistakes and not take anything personally.

“The main thing is you have to put yourself out there, take risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes … and do what you love.”

Todd’s passion for development — combined with an easygoing personality, a ready laugh and a willing ear — makes him ideally attuned to the needs of his clientele.

“Our clients are the most affluent in the world,” he says. “They like what they like. They want what they want. We listen to and understand their needs. These people are so busy. We make it easy for them. We have the best architects. The houses are beautiful, comfortable.” And prospective homeowners can be as involved in the design as they like.

The result is an increasing array of imposing stone manses and charming Dutch Colonials tucked behind winding, sycamore-studded Carriage Trail high above the Hudson River. As we tool around the development in Todd’s sleek black Tesla Model 3, it’s clear the place is bustling, with workers securing trees that will be preserved and cranes placing steel beams. There are 21 lots, with 10 sold and five houses partially or completely built.

We pass by 6 Carriage Trail — site of several business gatherings, including WAG’s first home design event last March — where Todd and his team made a dramatic discovery that we first wrote about when we introduced you to Greystone two years ago. It was an 800-pound marble that appeared to be from ancient Rome.

“We were shocked,” he recalls. “We were like, what could this possibly be?”

What it turned out to be after much art historical detective work on the part of him and his business partner — “Barry was obsessed with it”— was the funerary pillar of Tiberius Claudius Saturninus, a former slave who collected inheritance taxes for the Emperor Claudius in Greece, “the first freeman to become a Roman official.” 

In 1893, Josiah Macy’s widow, the former Caroline Louisa Everit, bought it at auction at Rome’s Villa Borghese. In time, however, the couple’s Greystone Castle and its treasures went the way of many of the great Hudson River estates — until Todd and his team began excavating for 6 Carriage Trail. Today, the funerary pillar, or cippus, flanks The Met’s Leon Levy and Shelby White Court in the Greek and Roman galleries.

The Tarrytown development is not Todd’s only luxury development. There’s a shingle-style Hampton country home that sits on 28 acres atop the highest point in Bedford, 702 feet above sea level, and designs for 10 condominiums on Dune Road in the Hamptons on Long Island that will be built on the site of the old Hampton Ocean Resort.

Todd is a Long Islander, too, living in Dix Hills with wife, Meryl, and their three daughters. Family is everything to him, he says, but he has also enjoyed re-acquainting himself with Westchester County — a place he never explored as a child beyond his school and athletic commitments.

“I had no idea how beautiful it was,” he says.

For more, visit greystone-on-hudson.com.

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