Wegmans Just Took a Huge Step Toward Coming to Westchester
Plus, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins combats sexual harassment in the workplace, and more news from Westchester's business scene.
Wegmans West Harrison Deal Takes Step Forward
On January 4, popular grocery chain Wegmans Food Markets Inc. closed on a deal to buy three office buildings in Harrison, taking a crucial step forward on a plan that has been in the works for over a year. Wegmans first announced plans for a West Harrison store in December 2016 after signing a purchase agreement with Normandy Real Estate Partners LLC. The property is located on the historically corporate stretch of I-287 known as the Platinum Mile, which is in the midst of extensive redevelopment. Wegmans is based in Rochester, and nearly half of its 95 East Coast locations are in New York. While most of those locations are upstate, the Harrison store will be part of the company’s expansion into the New York metropolitan area. The store plans include a café area, as well as 736 new parking spaces and a new 8,000-square-foot standalone building for an undetermined use.
Lower Hudson Valley Sees Growth in Tourism Industry
New York travel and tourism are in good economic health, according to reports from the state Department of Labor. Data from 2016 marked an all-time high in travel and tourism spending, as well as rapid sector growth in employment and wages. Due to the perennial popularity of New York City tourism, a majority of the sector’s growth and earnings are generated within the city, but nearby Westchester has experienced some of the benefits. The lower Hudson Valley, comprising Westchester, Orange, and Rockland counties, saw 27 percent job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector from 2007 to 2016. In Westchester alone, tourists generated $1.8 billion in 2016.
RM Friedland Gets Big Role at 587 Main Street, Part of RXR’s New Rochelle Master Redevelopment Plan
Rendering of New Rochelle's 587 Main Street development.
RM Friedland, the largest privately held commercial real estate brokerage company in Westchester, has been named the exclusive retail leasing agent for 587 Main Street, the first phase of RXR’s master redevelopment of downtown New Rochelle. 587 Main Street is planned as a 280-unit, mixed-use luxury residential rental project, which includes approximately 14,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, a 10,500-square foot Black Box Theatre on the second floor, and 294 on-site parking spaces. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to represent RXR on the leasing of 587 Main Street. This truly feels like we have been given the opportunity to get in at the ground level of reinvigorating the community of New Rochelle,” says Sarah Jones-Maturo, president of RM Friedland. “Our team is dedicated to working closely with RXR, the developers of the project, and bringing tenants that will be able to run exciting, successful and sustainable businesses in New Rochelle’s dynamic downtown area.” Construction is anticipated to be completed in Q1 2019, which will mark the start of full building operations.
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins Pushes Proposal to Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
New York State Senator and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), together with her Senate Democratic colleagues, has introduced a series of bills to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. As the first woman leader of a New York State Legislative Conference, Senator Stewart-Cousins has made combating inequality and injustice a top priority. The legislative package includes a number of bills aimed at reducing workplace sexual harassment and holding perpetrators of such harassment responsible for their actions. “This Senate Democratic bill package will send a strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” explains Senator Stewart-Cousins. “Our proposals will combat sexual harassment in public and private sector offices, ensure public officials cannot use taxpayer money for settlements, protect New Yorkers from retaliatory actions, and shine a light on workplace harassment allegations and settlements. If the current Senate Republican Majority does not act on this legislation, I will ensure it is passed when the Senate Democrats come to power later this session.”
BCW Elects Five New Members to Board of Directors
The Business Council of Westchester (BCW) has announced the election of a slate of new board members who bring a diverse range of experience and talents to the influential business organization. “We are truly honored to have such a distinguished group of business leaders joining our board of directors,” says BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon. “They bring many years of experience in the fields of healthcare, biotech, sports marketing, education and real estate.” Elected to three-year terms were five new board members (pictured above, left to right): Kristin Bernert, Senior Vice President of Operations for the New York Knicks; David Campbell, Vice President of LeChase Construction Services; Erin Loosen, Associate Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; Dr. Joseph Ricca, Superintendent of Schools for the White Plains City School District; and Lynn Richmond, NP, Executive Vice President of Montefiore Medicine.
Westchester Legislators Provide "Seed" Money to Grow Agriculture Businesses
The 2018 Westchester County Budget provides a new funding line that will be matched by additional funds from New York State to create a comprehensive plan to protect, support, and grow agricultural activities throughout the county. The budget addition was submitted by Legislator Francis Corcoran (R-Bedford), Chair of the Board of Legislators’ Environment and Health Committee. Legislator Corcoran represents Bedford, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Lewisboro Pound Ridge and parts of Somers—towns that are home to much of the County’s agriculture business. “This funding represents a modest but important investment in our county’s agricultural businesses,” Corcoran says. "Agricultural land contributes significantly to the quality of life in Westchester County by providing open space, links to our cultural history, a habitat for wildlife, and locally produced food.” The $50,000 in County funds will be matched by $50,000 from New York State to engage the services of an outside consultant to update the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. The plan will identify and develop projects within all areas—urban, suburban and rural—to increase economic and social opportunities throughout the county.
Future Site of Marriott Springhill Suites in Tuckahoe Undergoes Environmental Cleanup
Responding to “a dearth of hotels in southern Westchester,” Bill Weinberg, principal of Bilwin Development Associates LLC, is heading development for a $31 million Mariott Springhill Suites hotel in the Eastchester village of Tuckahoe. The hotel’s future site, a 3.5-acre property on Marbledale Road, is convenient and spacious. However, a century of use as a marble quarry and two decades as a landfill and industrial waste dump took an environmental toll on the land. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) found a number of wastes contaminating the property’s soil and groundwater, leading the DEC and state Department of Health to oversee a $7 million remediation project. Environmental consulting firms HydroEnvironmental Solutions Inc. and HDR Inc. worked to remove contaminated materials from the site, lay the hotel’s foundation, and construct storm water and drainage systems. The Tuckahoe Planning Board narrowly approved the remediation project’s site plan in October 2016; a month later, nine Tuckahoe citizens concerned about the project’s environmental impact challenged the board’s decision in court. The court denied the group’s pursuit of a preliminary injunction to stop the project in May, and has not yet given a final ruling on the lawsuit. Weinberg says the cleanup project is “close to 100 percent capped” with “no incidents at all,” and expects vertical construction to resume soon. The hotel is expected to open later in 2018.
First Year of Hotel Tax Brings Revenue Increase to Westchester Towns
On New Year’s Eve 2016, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a series of bills that allowed 14 municipalities in Westchester County to charge a 3 percent occupancy tax on hotel room bookings, an ability previously only granted to cities and counties. The bill underwent a contentious battle before becoming law: the Westchester Hotel Association had lobbied against the tax, while local politicians from towns like Greenburgh argued for it. Larger Westchester cities such as Yonkers and White Plains already collected an occupancy tax, bringing in about $6.5 million to the county each year. Although executives from the Business Council of Westchester say it’s too early to gauge the long-term impact of the tax law, towns that have adopted the tax are projecting big revenue gains in its first year. According to Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, Greenburgh is on track to collect nearly $1 million, one year after becoming the first town to adopt the new tax in January 2017.
Villa BXV Receives Acclaim From NAHB as a “National Community of the Year”
New residential development Villa BXV has gained national recognition (pictured above) from the esteemed National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The condominium building in the heart of Bronxville Village, developed by Fareri Associates of Greenwich, CT, was recently named a “National Community of the Year” by the NAHB. Villa BXV also received awards for best model merchandising, best architectural design, and best landscaping. “We are truly honored to have received these national awards from the highly respected NAHB,” says John Fareri, head of Fareri Associates. “These awards are a testament to the vision, hard work, and dedication to quality and excellence by a very talented team of professionals.” Fareri Associates is a diversified real estate investment and development company well known for its more than 40 years creating distinctive residential homes, as well as high-quality office and retail space.
Stark Office Suites Announces 10th Area Location
Stark Office Suites, which offers flexible executive office suites and virtual office services for successful professionals and entrepreneurs, has added another location to its roster of premium office space throughout Connecticut and New York. The purchase of The Hartford Trust Building at 750 Main Street in Hartford, Conn. (pictured right) marks the Company’s 10th location. Since 2004, Stark has built a network of premier office suite locations in New York City, White Plains, Harrison, Mount Kisco, Rye Brook, Scarsdale, Danbury, Greenwich, and Stamford. With the addition of 130,000 square feet in Hartford, the company holds 300,000m square feet of premium office space. Since its establishment in 2004, Stark Office Suites has grown significantly. The company currently serves approximately 900 clients and has twice been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America.