IBM, Yonkers Raceway, and Other Westchester Institutions Thrive; Office Space with a Hudson View for $2.3M; Upcoming Business Events
Richard Grasso, former chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, spoke at a dinner organized by the Business Circle of the Westchester Italian Cultural Center (WICC) in Tuckahoe on June 20. Grasso shared his thoughts on the economic future of America in a talk entitled “Renewed Economic Growth or Chapter 11?” During his talk, Grasso praised Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bipartisan approach to solving the state’s fiscal problems and said that tax increases needed to be part of a deficit reduction program along with spending cuts and downsizing government. He proposed tax holidays for companies with monies overseas for tax reasons that commit to creating new jobs and capital projects as well as tax deductions for college tuition (for families making less than $250,000) and the first $60,000 spent on automobile purchases. He also predicted that another stock market crash is inevitable unless certain activities on Wall Street—such as credit default swaps—are made transparent and accountable to regulators.
Grasso presided over the most successful period in NYSE history, and was instrumental in the successful reopening of U.S. equity markets following the September 11 attacks. The Business Circle is a membership group within the Tuckahoe-based Cultural Center.
Phillip Landrigan, a partner at the law firm McCarthy Fingar LLP in White Plains, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley. The LSHV is a nonprofit law firm offering free civil legal service the poor and newly unemployed in Westchester and six surrounding counties.
Citrin Cooperman, one of the largest accounting firms in the region, recently announced that it has strengthened its Westchester office with the addition of four partners and 15 staff from Eisman, Zucker, Klein & Ruttenberg, LLP. The four partners are: Howard Klein, Mark Mottel, William Zeboris, and Alan Zverin. The firm’s Westchester office is located in White Plains.
Elder-care author Elaine Sanchez was the featured speaker at an event held on June 2 by The Kensington, a new assisted-living community opening in White Plains. Sanchez presented her Caregiver Survival Training program at two different sessions held at the Woman’s Club of White Plains. Located on Maple Avenue, The Kensington will soon be licensed by the state as an “enhanced assisted-living facility” where residents will be able to receive licensed nursing care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility is being developed by Fountain Square Senior Living of Reston, Virginia.
New businesses, relocations, and operations
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings announced earlier this month that it would keep its headquarters and more than 500 jobs in Purchase. The aviation corporation, which operates the largest fleet of 747 freight aircrafts in the world, relocated to Westchester from Denver in 2000 and considered as many as 60 other cities before deciding to stay in its current location. According to a June 8th article on Patch.com, New York State's Excelsior Job Program granted the company $8.5 million in benefits to stay in the state. The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency also added in about $442,000 in sales tax exemptions and $480,000 in energy credits over the next 10 years. The company is located at 2000 Westchester Avenue.
Regeneron, a pharmaceutical firm based in Tarrytown, received a boost earlier this month after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted unanimously in support of a new eye drug developed by the company. According to a recent article in the Journal News, the drug was developed to treat wet macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in older people. The FDA is not required to follow the panel’s advice, but it usually does. The agency is expected to make a final decision on the drug by August 20.
If it is approved by the agency, the drug will be co-marketed by Regeneron and Bayer Pharmaceuticals under the brand name Eylea, and will compete directly with Lucentis (manufactured by Roche), which generates $1.5 billion in annual sales. Industry analysts expect the Regeneron drug to perform well since it requires injections once every two months compared to Lucentis, which requires injections once a month.
The New York State Department of Labor signed a 10-year lease renewal earlier this month for its 42,000-square-foot space at 120 Bloomingdale Road in White Plains. According to the Westchester County Business Journal, the agency has completely occupied the second floor of the building since 2000. Newmark Knight Frank brokered the transaction.
The Westchester chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) celebrated its rapid growth as the county’s newest professional association with a networking reception at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, in White Plains earlier this month. The group received its charter just one year ago, and is already nearing 50 members. The AFP is an international organization that focuses on professional fundraising education and ethics. Members must sign a Code of Ethics, which they are expected to uphold, and the organization has been one of the leading proponents of certification for fundraising professionals. For more information on the group, visit AFP Westchester’s website at www.afpwestchester.org
Purchase College gained some support over the past month that will help the higher learning institution groom future scientists and journalists. The National Science Foundation awarded a five-year Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Scholarship grant of nearly $600,000 to the college. The grant will provide annual scholarships to freshmen, transfer, and continuing students over its five-year period, supporting academically talented and financially needy biochemistry, biology, and chemistry students. It will also fund four tutors each year for five years.
The college also announced a partnership with InvestigateNY, the New York Center for Investigative Reporting, which will create opportunities for Purchase students to contribute to investigative journalism efforts in the New York region. The institution will maintain an investigative reporting center on the Purchase campus, providing a teaching environment for students embracing professional roles such as producing stories in TV, radio, print, and digital media. INY Executive Director Polly Kreisman is the recipient of 15 Emmy Awards in broadcast journalism for her investigative work on television in the New York City market. Board President Mary Alice Williams, a broadcasting veteran of networks such as NBC, CNN, and Discovery Health, is currently a professor of journalism at Purchase and will administer the program on campus.
The Advertising Club of Westchester honored the Westchester County Office of Economic Development and advertising agency Thompson & Bender at its 40th Annual Big W Awards program, held on June 8 in Tarrytown. The county office and the agency won seven awards plus the top award of the program, Best of Show, for their role in developing and implementing Westchester County’s “Intellectual Capital” campaign. The Best of Show Award is determined by the highest average scores of all entries as determined by a panel of judges.
The campaign also won three Gold Awards for Best Business to Business Website, Best Promotion & Collateral Material Media Kit, and Best Integrated Campaign, as well as two Silver and two Bronze awards. As mentioned in the June 14th edition of this blog, the campaign is based around the slogan “Westchester County – New York’s Intellectual Capital.” The branding campaign includes print and online advertising, a new website (thinkingwestchester.com), a monthly e-newsletter, a digital brochure, outdoor displays, and an ongoing public relations program.
The Westchester Green Business Challenge, a competitive program developed jointly by the county government and the Business Council of Westchester, held its first annual recognition event at the Jacob Burns Media Arts Lab in Pleasantville on June 15. County Executive Rob Astorino joined BCW President & CEO Marsha Gordon to present awards to the top 80 active participants from more than 200 companies that have registered for the sustainability program. The honorees committed to the program by completing an interactive scorecard and committing to making improvements in five areas of focus: energy, transportation, land use, water resources and waste management. Con Edison and Pernod Ricard were honored as platinum and bronze sponsors of the WGBC program, respectively, along with five "most improved" companies who have submitted more than one scorecard and implemented green strategies recommended by the WGBC: contracting firm C.W. Brown, Inc., of Armonk; environmental nonprofit Groundwork Hudson Valley of Yonkers; commercial realtor Reckson; biotech firm Regeneron of Tarrytown; and consulting firm WellsCanning of Valhalla.
(Jon Schandler, president and CEO of White Plains Hospital Center, was named a 2011 Father of the Year by the Greater New York Father’s Day Council of Westchester County. Schandler was one of three men to receive the award and was recognized at the sixth annual Father of the Year Awards Dinner on June 16 at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor.
Each year, the Father’s Day Council identifies and honors fathers who have demonstrated the ability to balance their personal lives with their professional careers, to serve as role models for their children, and to help make a positive difference in their communities. Since 2000, the Fathers’ Day Council and the American Diabetes Association have partnered to raise more than $10 million to support the ADA’s mission. All proceeds from the event benefit diabetes research, education, and advocacy efforts.
Schandler joined the hospital in 1976, serving as controller and associate executive director prior to being named CEO and President in 1981. He has directed major renovation and repositioning efforts for the hospital and served as Chairman of the Management Committee of Health Star Network, Inc (now Stellaris Health Network), the parent company of White Plains Hospital Center, from 1996 through 1997. In 2000, he was one of the major architects of a very successful four-hospital alliance.
He currently serves as Chairman of the American Hospital Association PAC Steering Committee and is very active in local, regional and state hospital associations. He is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS); the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association (NORMET); VHA Empire-Metro and the Westchester Hospital Consortium, Inc. Schandler, who is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Pace University, also served as a member of Governor Cuomo’s Healthcare Advisory Board. He also serves as a Board member of the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board, Westchester County Association, New Castle Board of Assessment Review, the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and other organizations. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Hospice of Westchester.
Purchase College was well represented at this year’s Tony Awards ceremony on June 12. Brian MacDevitt won his fifth Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical for The Book of Mormon, which captured nine awards at the ceremony. MacDevitt, who graduated from the college in 1980, has been associated with Purchase for 24 years, as a full-time professor and then a visiting professor and guest lecturer. Over the years, many of his students have worked on his Broadway and Off Broadway productions and have gone on to their own successful careers. One former student, 1987 graduate Kenneth Posner, was also a 2011 Tony nominee for Best Lighting Design of a Play for his work on The Merchant of Venice.
MacDevitt – who is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland – previously won Tony Awards for Into The Woods in 2002, The Pillowman in 2005, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in 2009. He also received a Tony in 2007 for The Coast of Utopia.
Other Purchase affiliates honored at the Tony ceremony were 1986 graduate Edie Falco, who was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for The House of Blue Leaves, and the late Israel Hicks, formerly the dean of Theater Arts and Film at Purchase, who was shown during a memorial segment.
Two of the county’s best-known charities held awards dinners this past month. Greyston Foundation raised more than $300,000 at the organization’s Annual Benefit on June 9 at X2O in Yonkers. The foundation also announced the renaming of its PathMaking Center to the Ruth Suzman PathMaking Center during the gala for honoree Ruth Suzman of Scarsdale. Andrew Kassoy of Manhattan, the co-founder of B-Lab, was also honored for his commitment to Greyston Bakery. Meanwhile, the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester raised more than $350,000 at its Humanitarian Awards Dinner held at Lexus of MountKisco on June 4. Manhattan resident Barbara Feldon, who played Agent 99 on the television series Get Smart, presented the Youth of the Year award to Jason Distant of Mount Kisco. Actor Alec Baldwin of Bedford auctioneered during the dinner. The dinner honorees were Holly and David Singer of Bedford Hills.
Contrary to talk about economic slowdowns and a possible double-dip recession, much of the business news over the past couple of weeks in the Westchester region focused on area businesses surviving and thriving based on adaptability, changing with the times, and expansion efforts.
IBM, the granddaddy of all Westchester-based international corporations, might best exemplify the notion that adaptability over changing times is key to business survival. As noted in a June 12th article in the Journal News, the Armonk-based computer and technology giant celebrated its 100th anniversary this month—and industry analysts agree that the firm’s ability to reach that remarkable milestone had a great deal to do with its ability to evolve and change over the years. “Its ability to keep reinventing itself over the decades has been key to its survival,” notes Bob Djurdjevic, an analyst from Annex Research, in the article. “The company has survived two world wars, a Depression, and several recessions, and through it all it has adapted to a changing world around it.”
Yonkers Raceway, another Westchester institution, was also looking to the future by seeking a city tax deal to help fund a $40 million expansion that is expected to create 100 new full-time jobs. The raceway is seeking a $1.8 million mortgage-tax exemption that would cost Yonkers $500,000, along with sales tax and property tax discounts. The expansion plans call for the facility to add 60,000 square feet of space that would contain 400 new gaming tables and 350 new video lottery terminals. According to a Journal News report, the new gaming areas will be completed by the end of the year. Meanwhile, a new dining area and an outdoor carport for valet parking are expected to be finished by March. The raceway currently employs 1,000 people and is open seven days a week. Yonkers Industrial Development Association officials estimate that the facility generated more than $23 million in direct revenue to the city last year.
The raceway, however, is not the only county institution that is changing to keep up with the times. The Galleria mall in White Plains will be getting a much-needed facelift, as the Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, announced that the city had approved plans to open up the mall’s Main Street façade. A new entrance will be constructed along Main Street, and will feature new first-floor tenants along with an expanded Forever 21 women’s clothing store. The new store will add 20,000 square feet to Forever 21’s presence in the mall, and an interior escalator will connect the new first-floor location to its existing space on the second floor. Local officials and mall representatives quoted in a June 16th Journal News article expressed excitement over the changes, which will allow the mall to bring in more foot traffic in the White Plains central business district.
A few blocks away from the Galleria, the White Plains Hospital Center is beginning another large capital campaign to support more expansion and renovation at the medical facility. As reported in a June 17th article in the Westchester County Business Journal, the $100 million campaign is the largest in the hospital’s 118-year history. The hospital expanded its emergency department and added elective and emergency angioplasty procedures to its cardiac catheterization lab after a series of successful donations last year. The new campaign will bring renovations to a new six-story patient wing and a more visitor-friendly lobby, as well as add 12 large private rooms for patients and renovate the hospital’s surgical facility. The growth of the hospital reflects the reality that healthcare remains a vibrant and growing industry. The hospital boasts an annual budget of more than $300 million, employs more than 2,000 employees, and carries an annual payroll of more than $155 million, making it one of the top 12 employers in the county. Officials project that the facility will see roughly 55,000 emergency visits this year, roughly double the amount at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, and emergency room visits are up 9 percent overall from 2010. With expansion plans in place and more improvements on the way, the hospital seems ready to adapt to even greater healthcare demand in central Westchester for years to come.
2 John Walsh Blvd
NAI Friedland Realty
(914) 968-8500, ext. 324
NAI Friedland Realty
(914) 968-8500, ext. 312
The 20,000-square-foot building is currently listed for sale at $2,300,000. Spaces from 400 to 6,000 square feet are available for lease, with prices starting at $17 per square foot.
This Peekskill property is ideal for office, professional, and creative tenants looking for space in Northern Westchester. The building features onsite parking, access 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and beautiful views of the Hudson River. The property is also conveniently located near Route 9 (the Briarcliff-Peekskill Parkway) and is minutes away from Route 202, Route 6, and the Bear Mountain State Parkway.
Workshop: Marketing, Advertising and 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, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
Young Professionals Networking Series — 5:30 pm to 8 pm at the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase. Join the Westchester County Association for a one-of-a-kind networking event at the Neuberger Museum. Co-hosted by the Westchester Chapter of the NYS Society of CPAs, the Westchester County Bar Association, and the Westchester Women’s Bar Association. The cost is $35 for members; $45 for future members. For more information and to register, visit the WCA website at www.westchester.org
Workshop: Winning Business Plan — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this interactive workshop will detail how to create a winning business plan to help you develop as a manager, share your business goals with potential investors and bankers, inform your employees, and measure business performance. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
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. The cost is $27 per person; registration is open to BCW members only. For more information, visit the BCW website at www.westchesterny.org
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. The event is 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 at www.westchester.org
Workshop: Marketing, Advertising, and 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 web site that works, and use direct mail for great effect. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
Workshop: Marketing on the Internet — 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 120 Bloomingdale Road, 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, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
Connecting Westchester — 5:30 pm to 8 pm at the Mansion at Renaissance Westchester Hotel, 80 West Oak La, White Plains. 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. The cost is $60 for members; $75 for future members. For more information and to register, visit the WCA website at www.westchester.org
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 on 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, call (914) 948-3907 or visit www.scorewestchester.com
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 per person. For more information, visit the BCW website at www.westchesterny.org
Healthcare Reform Symposium — 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 at www.westchester.org
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.