Rye Brook Financial Advisor Named to Barron’s Top 100, House Party Revs Up with New CRO, New Office Space Available at Ridge Hill



 Mark Leeds, an Eastchester-based Certified Public Accountant (CPA), has been elected president of the Westchester Chapter of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA). Leeds is the chief financial officer for Win Properties, Inc., a commercial real estate firm based in Rye Brook. Leeds joined the NYSSCPA in 1975. He also has served as president-elect, vice president, treasurer, and secretary of the NYSSCPA Westchester Chapter and is vice chair of the chapter’s Budget and Scholarship Committees. He has served on the chapter’s Executive Board, Sponsorship Committee, and was co-chair of its Accountants in Industry Committee.





Ardsley resident Geri Pell recently was named to the Barron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors list for the third year in a row. Pell is president of Geri Pell and Associates, a financial advisory practice in Rye Brook.




Irvington-based marketing and branding company House Party has hired Sheryl Goldstein as its new chief revenue officer. Goldstein is tasked with driving revenue and leading the company’s sales team. She was previously the SVP of sales at Interactive One, LLC, the digital division of Radio One, Inc., the largest African American media company. “Sheryl’s rich history in the digital and social-marketing world is a perfect fit for House Party,” said Michael Perry, House Party CEO. “No one is better positioned to understand and convey the value of our socially-integrated offerings—and translate them into sales—than Sheryl.”

Acclaimed comedian and Briarcliff Manor resident Robert Klein entertained more than 100 future residents and guests of The Club at Briarcliff Manor — a senior living community currently under development — at a special VIP afternoon performance on June 7. Klein entertained for more than an hour, reminiscing about growing up in the Bronx and about his career as a comedian, actor, and author. Following the performance, he signed copies of his bestselling memoir, The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue. Copies of the book were presented as a gift from The Club at Briarcliff Manor to everyone who attended the event. The performance was held at The Club’s Information and Design Center at 25 Scarborough Road in Briarcliff.

Katherine Farley, who was named by Crain's New York Business as one of the Top Ten (of 50) Most Powerful Women in New York, will be the keynote speaker at the Westchester County Association's Fall Leadership Dinner on November 9. Farley is senior managing director of Tishman Speyer, overseeing $1.3 billion of investments in Brazil and China. She also serves as chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where she is overseeing the $1.2 billion redevelopment of the complex's iconic campus.

Amy Allen, who is managing director for Advocacy and International Business at the Westchester County Association, was invited to attend last month’s private bill-signing ceremony in Pleasantville, where Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a two-percent tax cap. Allen and members of the WCA's Call to Action Committee had lobbied for months to get the tax cap passed.

The Kensington, an enhanced assisted-living and memory-care facility opening this summer in White Plains, announced the appointment of three new county residents to its management staff. Lake Peekskill resident Norm Fintz was named the food services director and executive chef. Fintz has 24 years of management experience in the food services business, the past nine of which has been in director roles at senior and assisted-living communities. Before joining the Kensington, Fintz spent four years as director of dietary services/executive chef at United Hebrew Nursing and Rehabilitation/Willow Towers Assisted Living in New Rochelle. Prior to that, he was director of food and beverage/executive chef at the Esplanade Senior Residences and Corporate Suites Hotel in White Plains. Fintz also worked as operations manager/assistant general manager at the Down Town Association in New York City, and as event service manager at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Ossining resident Christine Ramirez was named as director of activities at the facility. Ramirez has more than a decade of experience in a managerial role with assisted-living communities. Before joining the Kensington, she served for seven years as the Engage Life director at Atria Woodlands in Ardsley, where she coordinated, developed, and implemented all activities for the Assisted Living and Independent Living units. Prior to working at Atria, she served as recreation leader at Andrus on Hudson in Hastings.

Sleepy Hollow resident Mary Ann Durso was named as the Kensington’s director of resident care and registered nurse. Durso is an RN with more than five years of acute-care experience on a medical-surgical unit, as well as five years of long-term care experience as a supervisor and a quality-assurance auditor. Since 2005, Durso has worked as an RN at White Plains Hospital as part of the medical-surgical staff. She has also worked as an RN Supervisor at Putnam Nursing & Rehabilitation Center since 2006. She is an ANCC Board-Certified Medical-Surgical Nurse and holds numerous additional certifications.

Terri Sorrentino was named as the new director of finance and administration at Purdys-based charitable organization Friends of Karen. Most recently, Sorrentino served as controller for Jewish Communities of Western Connecticut Inc., where she managed the accounting for included a $16 million endowment fund, federation, real estate, and buildings, and implemented a range of successful financial and performance solutions. Friends of Karen provides emotional, financial, and advocacy support to families of a child with cancer or another life-threatening illness, from diagnosis through treatment.

New businesses, relocations, and operations

O2 Living, the Cross River-based natural health and wellness community, announced that its fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices are now available at APOGEE in Bedford Hills and White Plains. The juices, which are made from organic fruits and vegetables, are fresh-pressed daily at O2 Living’s headquarters in Cross River’s Yellow Monkey Village. They are available in five flavors, including Green Vitality, Lemon Twist, Red Radiance, Carrot Kick, and Almond Envy.

Brewster, New York-based Medical Management Corporation of America (MMCOA) recently expanded into Connecticut. OrthopedicHealth, LLC, of Milford, Connecticut, has joined MMCOA’s client base as its first Connecticut client. Dr. Tedd Weisman, founder of OrthopedicHealth, sought out MMCOA in an effort to modernize its revenue cycle management processes. MMCOA employs more than 50 residents in Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.

PepsiCo Bottling Company recently celebrated its 4th Annual "PBC Gives Back Days" on June 15 and 16. One group of PepsiCo employees in Somers participated by volunteering time to help clean up picnic areas and walking trails at the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester (BGCNW) in Mount Kisco. Working with the Volunteer Center of United Way, PBC identifies multiple local nonprofit organizations for partnership—and, based on interest, employees individually select the volunteer project they want to support. Projects include painting, cleaning, refurbishing, building, clearing brush, and tutoring children, among others.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester (MCW) received a strong turnout for its Annual Golf & Tennis Classic last month, raising approximately $95,350, $15,000 more than last year's event. Just over $47,000 will go to support the Music Conservatory's programs. Additionally, $17,550 was raised for need-based scholarship support that will be matched, dollar for dollar, by a grant from the Ernst C. Stiefel Foundation.

Grand Prix New York (GPNY) announced the return of restaurateur Lance Root (of Bedford) to its in-house restaurant and bar, FUEL. Root is also the owner and operator of Route 22 Restaurant in Armonk. He currently is revamping the restaurant's drink offerings with new options for cocktails, frozen drinks, wine, and martinis. A selection of new food items will also be added to FUEL's new menu.

The Friends of Westchester County Parks (FWCP) announced last month that it has commissioned an economic impact study that will outline the economic benefits generated by the county’s parks. As part of its mission to secure adequate funding for Westchester’s park system, FWPC retained Indianapolis-based PROS Consulting to conduct the study. PROS Consulting will determine the economic and fiscal impacts generated by the diverse offerings of the parks operated by the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation. Two other properties owned by the department—Playland Park and the County Center—are the subject of separate studies. PROS will synthesize and consolidate the findings and data from those two studies and produce a comprehensive report on the overall system.


CoStar Group, one of the leading independent research firms in commercial real estate, recently recognized Jonathan Gordon of Westchester-based Admiral Real Estate Services Corp as a “CoStar Power Broker.” The annual award recognizes the “best of the best” in commercial real estate brokerage by spotlighting firms and individual brokers who closed the highest transaction volume in commercial property sales or leases for the previous year in their respective markets. Gordon qualified as one of the top retail brokers in the Westchester/Connecticut commercial real estate market based on the total leasing transactions he closed in 2010. In order to be selected for this honor, he was measured against commercial real estate brokers active in the region by CoStar Group and subsequently ranked among the top brokers in the market. Admiral Real Estate Services Corp. is a full-service leasing, property management, and advisory firm. Based in Westchester, the company currently leases and/or manages more than 75 retail, office, residential, and development properties in the New York metropolitan area.

A quick glance at the latest business headlines from across the county over the past few weeks reveals that Westchester’s economic landscape is rapidly changing, as leaders and business owners try and become more creative at discarding older business models in favor of meeting new demand in alternative markets.

One of the key examples of this trend is occurring in White Plains, where a vast amount of vacancies in area malls is creating an opportunity for new, non-retail businesses to move in. As noted in a July 2 article in the Journal News, a South Korean company recently signed a lease at the Westchester Pavilion on South Broadway to build a massive, 40,000-square-foot spa that will be called Westchester Renue Spa & Sauna. The spa — which will occupy space that was vacated by retail bookstore Borders three years ago — will include wading pools, saunas, yoga, and a fitness center, as well as a lounge and food court, with separate spa and sauna facilities for men and women connected to a common foyer. City Planning Commissioner Susan Habel is quoted as saying higher-end and health-related businesses have popped up all over the city, catering to a diverse, younger, and potentially wealthier population. Habel added that the spa would likely appeal to the Asian market, which has also significantly grown in White Plains.

In contrast, the lack of demand for office space in Greenburgh is leading to a retail renaissance. Public officials and private partners recently took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $20 million retail project on an underutilized office park property off Route 119 near Tarrytown. According to the Westchester County Business Journal, White Hickory Associates LLC will develop a new shopping center known as Premier Plaza on a 14-acre site adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel. The site was last occupied about 25 years ago by the Westchester Premier Theater, and the new development will be anchored by a 58,000-square-foot Super Stop & Shop grocery store. Targeted for completion by the end of this year, the plaza also will include a 12,500-square-foot retail store, with later plans for a 3,800-square-foot bank and another 14,500-square-foot retail building.

Biotech continues to bring huge business into Westchester as one of the hottest business sectors in the county. The Journal News reported that Acorda Therapeutics, which develops and markets therapies for neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, announced that it will be leasing space at the Ardsley Park life sciences campus on Saw Mill River Road. The deal was assisted by $1.1 million in sales-tax abatements from the county Industrial Development Agency, as well as $5.2 million in job-creating incentives from the New York's Empire State Development Corp. Acorda has been based in Hawthorne since 1998 and currently employs 159 people. The company is expected to add another 190 jobs over the next five years, and its new Ardsley location will be able to support its burgeoning growth.

Even area golf clubs, which have long been a significant part of Westchester’s suburban landscape, are looking at new, alternative ways to bring in revenue. The county’s newest club, Brynwood Golf & Country Club, announced plans to create a residential community around its facility in Armonk. The plan calls for the development of 243 one- and two-bedroom homes and cottages on property adjacent to the existing clubhouse and golf course. The clubhouse, which recently underwent extensive interior renovations, would also be expanded, along with the construction of new swimming pools, a health club, spa, and new tennis courts.

Jim Tinson, CEO of Hart Howerton, the golf resort community architectural firm behind the project, said that the property will offer a residential alternative to suburban empty nesters. “We’ve created a plan that gives local residents a housing alternative that is popular in other parts of the country, but does not yet exist here,” Tinson says. “We’ve created a product that allows empty-nesters to sell their large homes and downsize right here in their own community without giving up their quality of life or the meaningful relationships they have forged over most of their lives.”

The Brynwood property, formerly known as the Canyon Club, was acquired last year. The new owners of the facility launched a multi-million-dollar renovation and repositioning of the clubhouse and pool area almost immediately after the purchase. Brynwood has also hired legendary course designer Rees Jones to develop a master plan for the facility’s 18-hole course, which will stretch out to more than 6,700 yards. The club currently is managed by Troon Golf, which oversees more than 200 golf courses in 31 states and 26 countries.

Meanwhile, the Westchester Coalition for Business Development—a task force created by the Business Council of Westchester to develop strategies for attracting and retaining businesses in the county—issued a new report this month. The report outlined a tool kit of action steps designed to help build and strengthen the county’s new economic development structure, and zeroed in on three major challenges. The first was to present the county as an attractive environment for young people to work and live with their families. The second was a more aggressive legislative agenda at all levels of government to change existing laws and advocate for new ones that would promote economic growth. Finally, the third challenge is for the county to invest more resources into “spreading the word” about Westchester as an attractive place to conduct business.

The Coalition’s report was unveiled at the Armonk headquarters of the C.W. Brown, Inc., general contracting firm. The firm’s late president, Charlie Brown, served as chairman of the Business Council and was a driving force behind many of the Council’s recommendations and activities until his untimely death last month. Following Brown’s death, the Coalition named Tim Jones, managing director/partner at the Elmsford-based Robert Martin Company, as chairman of the Coalition. Jones's first job will be to create a comprehensive implementation plan based on the recommendations of the Coalition’s report.


914INC.’s commercial real estate showcase

1 Ridge Hill

Brokered by:
Al Gutierrez
CB Richard Ellis
(203) 352-8908
Ian Ceppos
CB Richard Ellis
(203) 352-8930

This 168,000-square-foot building currently has 84,000 square feet available for lease. The rental rate for the property is $28 per square foot, per year.

Selling points:
This office building is located in the burgeoning Ridge Hill development in Yonkers. The property is in close proximity to major retail outlets, restaurants, and a movie theater. Ridge Hill development tenants are slated to include Gap, H&M, Lord & Taylor, The Cheesecake Factory, and Whole Foods Market. Forest City Ratner was chosen by the city of Yonkers to develop the 84-acre site. The building and development are located directly off Interstate 87 (the New York State Thruway) and are in close proximity to the Cross County, Sprain Brook, and Saw Mill River Parkways.

Upcoming Business Events

TUESDAY 7/12/2011

- Business Breakfast Dialogue — 7:30 am to 9:15 am at Antun’s of Westchester Catering & Events, 35 Valley Ave, Elmsford. Discuss business issues with fellow Business Council of Westchester members at this monthly business-development event. $27 per person; registration is open to BCW members only. For more information, visit the BCW website

WEDNESDAY 7/13/2011

- 2011 Westchester Real Estate Conference — 2:30 pm to 6 pm at 1133 Westchester Ave, White Plains. Join real estate brokers, developers, builders, government officials, and others in the real estate field for a half-day of informed conversation, insight, and networking—sponsored by the Westchester County Association. $75 per person, $60 per person for groups of four or more. For more information and to register, visit the WCA website.

- Workshop: Marketing, Advertising, & Public Relations — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this interactive workshop will focus on communications using the words that consumer think about when they are ready to purchase a product or service. All media will be discussed: How to have an effective business card, how to develop a unique selling proposition, a website that works, and use direct mail for great effect. Free. For more information, or call (914) 948-3907.

WEDNESDAY 7/20/2011

Workshop: Marketing on the Internet — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will introduce you to the concepts of search-engine optimization, search-engine marketing, and social-media marketing. During this two-hour class, we will discuss how to get started and what to consider as a strategy. The workshop will be presented by Jennifer Shaheen of The Technology Therapy Group. Free. For more information, or call (914) 948-3907.

THURSDAY 7/21/2011

- Connecting Westchester — 5:30 pm to 8 pm at the Mansion at Renaissance Westchester Hotel, 80 W Red Oak Ln, Harrison. Join the Westchester County Association for its annual summer networking event and purchase a raffle ticket to win two tickets to the WCA’s fall dinner. $60 for members; $75 for future members. For more information and to register, visit the WCA website.

WEDNESDAY 7/27/2011

- Workshop: Financing Your Business — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will present an overview of different ways to finance your business and the best practices/processes to follow when starting out. The workshop will be conducted in an open discussion format. Free. For more information, or call (914) 948-3907.

SUNDAY 8/14/2011

- Lee Pompei Memorial Car Show — 11 am to 3 pm at the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Station, Route 6, Mahopac. Car enthusiasts will have an opportunity to enjoy this classic car show, which will include trophies, raffles, prizes, and five special awards. Proceeds will benefit Hospice Care in Westchester & Putnam. The show is named in honor of Lee Pompei, a car enthusiast and former owner of The Wire Shop in Mahopac, New York, who was a hospice patient. Free, but contributions are encouraged. Pre-registration is required by July 31. Sponsorships and raffle prizes are welcome. For more information, contact Sandy Pompei at (845) 628-4213 or Mike Purdy at (914) 497-6270.

TUESDAY 9/20/2011

- BCW’s Entergy Day of Golf — 9:30 am to 6:30 pm at Westchester Hills Golf Club, 401 Ridgeway, White Plains. Join the Business Council of Westchester for a day on the golf course sponsored by Entergy. $375. For more information, visit the BCW website.

THURSDAY 9/22/2011

- Healthcare Reform — 8 am to 6:30 pm at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown. Join the Westchester County Association for a full-day series of panel discussions and a networking cocktail reception covering what you may not be hearing in the national healthcare debate. $325 per person. For more information, visit the WCA website.


914INC. Accomplished Women Entrepreneur (AWE) Awards — 914INC., the business lifestyle publication launched by Westchester Magazine, is seeking to showcase the greatest success stories among women entrepreneurs throughout the Westchester business community. Female entrepreneurs selected by the magazine’s editors will be featured in its October cover story, and will be honored at an awards ceremony. To be eligible for consideration, the candidate must be the founder of the business, the business must physically reside in Westchester County, and the success and general excellence of the business must be demonstrable. Self-nominations will be accepted. For more information, or to apply for consideration, visit the AWE Awards online entry form.


In the June 28 edition of our “Scene & Seen” business blog, we erroneously reported that Yonkers Raceway was seeking a $1.8 million mortgage-tax exemption along with sales-tax and property-tax discounts as part of its renovation efforts. In fact, the raceway and the Yonkers Industrial Development Association (IDA) reached an agreement last month— and, through the authority invested in the IDA to negotiate state and county taxes, the raceway will pay a $1.8 million mortgage recording tax directly to the city of Yonkers, along with an estimated $1.2 to $1.6 million payment that will be made in lieu of sales taxes on materials. The renovation and expansion project will not require any IDA financing or additional financing by the raceway.

The June 28 “Revolving Door” piece also contained an error. In the item regarding the Humanitarian Awards Dinner held to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester, we mistakenly noted that actor Alec Baldwin auctioneered during the event. Actor Billy Baldwin, a Bedford resident and Alec’s brother, actually presided at the festivities. We regret the errors.



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