Westchester Bank Celebrates Success, Hummus Maker Spreads, ArtsExchange Adds Theater, Starwood’s Office on the Market



People

•    BioScrip, Elmsford — David W. Froesel, Jr., has joined the provider of specialty pharmacy and homecare products and services as executive vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer.
•    The Dorf Law Firm, LLP, Mamaroneck office — Jessica J. Kastner has joined the law firm as an associate in the litigation department.
•    Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, White Plains —Robert E. Miss has joined the not-for-profit law firm as chief development officer.
•    NAI Friedland Realty, Yonkers—Anthony (Tony) Lembeck has been promoted to CEO from chief operating officer, a position filled by Jay Olshonsky.
•    Pinsky Studio, Bedford—Cathy Pinsky, photographer and owner, has joined the Board of Trustees of the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains.

New businesses, relocations & operations

•    Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty—The luxury real estate firm has opened a new Bronxville office at 2 Park Place. It is the firm’s fifth office in Westchester. Agents based there include Kathleen Collins, Alice Regan, Bill Dowling, Joan Lennon, Deborah Ballas Maxwell, Nancy Wilson, and Nina Betancourt.

•    New York Pediatric Dentistry, Rye Brook — The orthodontic care and pediatric dentistry practice of Lou Cooper, DDS of Harrison, a pediatric dentist, and orthodontistBrian Finn, DDS of Scarsdale has opened within a 3,300-square-foot space at 90 S Ridge Street.

•    OMEGA SA, Switzerland — The watch company will open a 2,500-square-foot OMEGA Boutique at The Westchester in White Plains. The boutique is one of nine OMEGA had slated to open in 2010

•    Pine Brook Road Partners, LLC, New York — The investment firm specializing in energy and financial services has leased 1,470 square feet at 10 Bank Street in downtown White Plains for a new office.

•    Software Guidance & Assistance, Inc., Tarrytown — The provider of large-scale or “enterprise” information technology staffing for Fortune 1000 clients has expanded its headquarters at 200 White Plains Road, within Mack-Cali’s Talleyrand Office Park, to 7,692 square feet.

Kudos

•    Aries Deitch & Endelson Inc., Hartsdale, has been named among Westchester/Southern Connecticut’s 2009 CoStar Power Brokers, while the firm's William B. Hesse, president; Barry Endelson, executive vice president; and Marty Deitch, senior vice president, were individually designated 2009 CoStar Power Brokers. The 2010 Power Brokers won't be named until next year (because of the time it takes to compile the necessary data).

•    Debt Resolve Inc., Tarrytown, signed its first two clients, an undisclosed “collection law firm” and an undisclosed “collection agency,” for its DR Collect system.

•    Joseph Simone, president of Simone Development in New Rochelle, has been honored by the Bronx Chamber of Commerce with its Visionary Award for his contribution to the community through projects that include Hutchinson Metro Center, a Bronx office campus featuring 740,000 square feet of space in two development phases.

•    The Westchester Bank, Yonkers, reported its White Plains branch at 464 Mamaroneck Avenue has grown to more than $50 million in deposits during its first year in operation. The branch opened in November 2009.

•    White Plains Hospital Center’s Emergency Department has won an Excellence in Patient Care award from the Studer Group, a healthcare performance improvement and leadership development firm, for “demonstrating outstanding performance in patient satisfaction.”

Our monthly business blog

A Landmark Expansion at Landmark

Nice as it is to hear all the talk about bringing more biotechnology activity to Westchester, it's better to see something actually cooking on that front.

BMR-Landmark at Eastview LLC, the California company that controls The Landmark at Eastview campus—which has a Tarrytown address but actually straddles the Greenburgh-Mount Pleasant line miles from the village—is looking to expand the campus 55 percent, by building another 609,000 square feet of lab and office space. All of it would rise on the Mount Pleasant side, in four planned buildings.

On December 20, the project took a small step forward when Mount Pleasant's planning board approved a draft "scope," or list of topics to be covered in the telephone-book-sized environmental impact statement that the San Diego real estate investment trust will someday submit.

A public hearing on the topic drew exactly two speakers: a lawyer representing BMR, Richard O'Rourke of the White Plains law firm Keane & Beane, and the chairman of the town's Conservation Advisory Council, Steven Kavee.

In addition to site plans for the expansion, BMR is seeking zoning changes. BMR first submitted its proposal to Mount Pleasant officials this past summer, less than a year after completing a smaller $145 million expansion that brought three new buildings to the Greenburgh side of the campus totaling 360,000 square feet—all leased to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

ArtsWestchester Update: Black Box and Green Building

ArtsWestchester is ready to add a little more arts to its Arts Exchange building in downtown White Plains—namely, a fully refurbished top or ninth floor that will serve as an unadorned or “black box” theater with fewer than 70 seats, and that also will be usable as extra rehearsal space.

“The big stumbling block for the ninth floor was the fact the elevator stopped on the eighth floor,” says ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam. ArtsWestchester is installing an elevator for people with disabilities going from floor eight to nine.

That ninth-floor space was originally the conference room for The People’s National Bank & Trust, which, through a series of mergers, ended up as part of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Going Green at the Gala

ArtsWestchester celebrated sustainability at this year’s 45th Anniversary Gala, using the theme “ArtsWestchester Makes Green a Primary Color.” The gala unfolded at the newly-renovated JPMorgan Chase Hangar at Westchester County Airport, which has the highest “platinum” certification under the LEED program for green buildings.

But a green saga of another sort played out at the gala, as ArtsWestchester pressed county officials in attendance to keep the county subsidy as close to the current roughly $1.7 million as possible. Instead, AW will see less money; how much less is still not known.

This year, County Executive Rob Astorino has proposed an even $1 million for AW. When the Westchester County Board of Legislators added a half-million more, Astorino vetoed the extra cash, leaving it up to the board to override. An override still would leave ArtsWestchester about 10 percent short of last year’s funding, when Andy Spano proposed $1.165 million and legislators added $500,000. Subtract the half-mil and the funding cut is more like 40 percent. Ouch!

Hummus Maker Spreading into White Plains, with State and County Dough



The nation's top seller of hummus and other refrigerated dips expects by spring to complete its headquarters move to White Plains, in return for more than $100,000 in state and county subsidies. Sabra Dipping Company LLC has promised to shift 33 jobs from the current home base in Astoria, Queens, to 777 Westchester Avenue,  and to create 32 more jobs over the next four years. 
 
PepsiCo half-owns Sabra in a joint venture with The Strauss Group, Israel’s second largest food company. It’s not clear how much PepsiCo's Westchester presence played into Sabra’s decision. 
  
Laurence Gottlieb, Westchester’s director of economic development, credits the county Industrial Development Agency's Small Business Program with helping reel in Sabra, which says it looked “regionally” before choosing White Plains. The company will save $6,000 in state and county taxes on equipment; the space is already built out, so its move in cost will just be about $221,000, according to IDA Executive Director Teri Waivada. 
 
In addition to the sales-tax savings, Sabra has been offered a $100,000 capital grant from the Economic Development Fund of the state Empire State Development Corporation, spokeswoman Lisa Willner tells INComing.

A 25th Anniversary, New Menu, and Specials Bring Hope for New Year

At Sam’s of Gedney Way in White Plains, owner Peter Herrero says the 25th anniversary celebration that began last month will continue through most of the New Year. Herrero will keep offering specials like the $25 prix fixe menu served with a glass of wine. For the New Year, Sam’s is substituting Champagne for wine.

The new menu followed Joseph Sasso’s arrival as new executive chef and culinary department head for Herrero’s New York Hospitality Group, which includes Sam’s. It’s also a response to two years of falling revenue; Herrero reports revenues are down 28 percent from two years ago. It also predicts hiring should pick up in 2011. Earlier this year, NYHG laid off one-third of its staff, which today stands at 75 or so.

914INC.’s commercial real estate showcase

PROPERTY:
1133 Westchester Ave.
White Plains

Owned and managed by: RPW Group Inc.
Agent: Cushman & Wakefield
Glenn Walsh (914) 997-9167
Larry Ruggieri (914) 997-9169

Available: Within the three-floor, 640,000-square-foot building, the 160,000-square-foot space to be vacated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is being marketed for 2012 occupancy, though the company could move out sooner to accommodate a new tenant. Another roughly 90,000 square feet of space is available immediately.

Backstory: The Starwood space will become vacant when the hotel giant bolts Westchester for the Harbor Point property now under development in Stamford, Connecticut. The Starwood space can be broken into spaces as small as 2,500 square feet.

Anchor tenant: ITT Corp., which occupies 100,000 square feet spread out among all three floors. ITT moved its world headquarters there in 2008 from a building across the street following the promise of more than $1.5 million in state, county, and Con Edison economic development incentives. Other tenants at 1133 Westchester include Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Advisors and occupying about 30,000 square feet); AMC Corp. (40,000 square feet); Chubb Insurance (16,000 square feet); George Little Management (15,425 square feet); Phoenix Investments (about 5,000 square feet); and the building's original owner, IBM Corp. (20,000 square feet).

Selling points: A private shuttle to and from the White Plains Metro-North station; a 25,000-square-foot, column-free atrium with a ceiling height of 30 feet for events; a full-service cafeteria; an executive dining room; a fitness center; a daycare center that serves up to 120 children; a sundry shop; a drycleaner; hair and nail salons; a 100-seat conference room; and 24/7 security.

From the owner (Robert P. Weisz, president, RPW Group):
• “We have repositioned the building in such a way that it went from being a plain vanilla building into a vibrant, very exciting office building. Everyone that comes in just walks away with an incredible expression of it."

About 1133 Westchester Ave: It was developed in 1964 for IBM, which sold the property in 2006 for $76 million to Weisz, who spent millions more for renovations such as the $5 million atrium. RPW has approvals from White Plains officials to build a 160-room hotel and about 300,000 extra square feet of offices. The recession has frozen those plans, and a new bank branch, though Weisz says RPW continues to work on both.

Asking rent: $31 per square foot, plus electric; tenant improvement allowance is negotiable.

Upcoming Business Events

THURSDAY 12/30/2010
• Business Council of Westchester — The deadline for “early bird” registration for Mega Mixer Business Expo 2011, set for March 11, 2011, at the Hilton Rye Town, Rye Brook. $395 members (booth only); $750 members (booth and seminar); $595 future members; $300 not-for profit members; $450 members Green Aisle (booth only); $775 members Green Aisle (booth &seminar); $600 future members Green Aisle.

THURSDAY 1/6/2011
• Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce — January Business Council Breakfast Meeting with Laurence Gottlieb, Westchester County’s director of economic development, 7:30 to 9:30 am at The Mansion on the Hill at Colonial Terrace, 119 Oregon Rd, Cortlandt Manor. $15/with RSVP; $17/at the door; $20/non-members.

THURSDAY 1/13
• Westchester County Association — Breakfast with the County Executive, an address followed by a Q&A with Rob Astorino, 8 am at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown (town of Greenburgh). $75/members; $90/non-members.

THURSDAY 1/27
• Advertising Club of Westchester — Online Reputation Management with Matthew Wagner, a member of ACW’s board of directors, and partner and chair of the Intellectual Property Department at the Stamford, Connecticut, law firm Diserio Martin O'Connor & Castiglioni LLP; and Raphi Salem, founder and CEO of SalemGlobal Internet Website Marketing in New York. 6 pm at the Sheraton Hotel, Tarrytown. $40/members; $48/non-members. For more info, e-mail info@acw.org, call (914) 202-3116, or fax (914) 620-1716.