Yonkers IDA Appoints New CFO, County’s Economic Development Director Foresees Biotech Incubator for Westchester, Westchester Bank Celebrates Fourth Anniversary with Plans for Third Branch
The Yonkers Industrial Development Agency (YIDA) has a new chief fiscal officer (CFO). Jesus Antonio Lopez will join recently appointed YIDA President and CEO Melvina Carter as part of the agency’s executive management team. Carter was previously the CFO before Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano appointed her CEO. The agency’s mission is to attract new business, economic development, and job creation throughout the city. Lopez, a Yonkers resident, most recently worked as a senior relationship manager for Citibank, and before that was a vice-president for JP Morgan Chase Bank.
Barbara E. Bel
The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) installed Barbara E. Bel, CPA, of Scarsdale, as a director representing its Westchester chapter. Bel has previously served as the president, president-elect, vice president, treasurer, and secretary of the NYSSCPA Westchester chapter, and as a member of its executive board. Women comprise 21 percent of all partners at firms, although they make up 45 percent of all accounting employees at accounting firms. Says Bel, “The majority of Westchester accounting firms currently have female partners, which is a welcome change from when I began my career in this field.”
New Businesses, Relocations, and Operations
Larry Gottlieb, director of economic development for Westchester County and co-founder of NY BioHud Valley, hopes to turn Westchester into the Silicon Valley of biotech. “There’s a flurry of activity in the county related to medical research, and we are looking to create our own model for a community of life science, like the one in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” says Gottlieb. Earlier this year, the county issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to developers who might be interested in the 60-acre vacant parcel of land at the county-owned, 512-acre Grasslands Reservation in Valhalla, adjacent to the Westchester Medical Center. Gottlieb views the “North 60” project as a “booster rocket” that can bring the first-ever biotech incubator space into Westchester. “The developer that’s eventually chosen has an opportunity to create a networking atmosphere, not just lease out lab space.” Among the developers looking at the space are the Portal Venture Group and Fareri Associates, the developer behind the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc., ContraFect, Acorda Therapeutics, and Affina Biotechnologies (which recently announced plans to relocate from Stamford, Connecticut) are among the biotech companies that currently call Westchester home. Lab space in Westchester can be leased for less than $35 per square foot, which gives it a distinct advantage over Manhattan, where space is about $85 per square foot.
The largest project ever undertaken by the county on the Bronx River Parkway is commencing this month. The $39.4 million construction, along the border of Scarsdale and Greenburgh, will replace the bridge over the Bronx River and the Metro-North Railroad tracks and is expected to take three years to complete.
A 33,000-square-foot Legoland Discovery Center will be coming to Ridge Hill in Yonkers. Construction begins in July and the Center is expected to open next year. The company behind the project is Merlin Entertainments Group, the world’s largest theme-park and visitor-attraction operator after Disney.
The Westchester Bank will celebrate its fourth anniversary in mid June. The community bank grew its assets to $290 million in those four years, and is scheduled to open a third branch by the end of this year. Says President and CEO John Tolomer, “We don’t even have an eight hundred number. Every banker has his mobile number on his business card and can be reached directly.”
The nonprofit sector is often not viewed as “business,” but, according to Alisa Kesten, executive director of The Volunteer Center of United Way, the 5,000 Westchester nonprofits “employ nearly one hundred thousand people, bring in seven point three billion dollars in total revenue, and post total assets of eleven point seven billion dollars.” Yet New York State ranks dead last in terms of percentage of adults who volunteer. However, some of the county’s nonprofit staff and volunteers are flexing their creative marketing muscle in 2012 and are looking beyond formal dinners, silent auctions, and golf outings as ways to bring in donations. Food, baseball tickets, a mass yoga event, and even mah-jongg are being used as “hooks” to compel new donors to be charitable. The Yonkers-based Greyston Foundation, a pioneer in social enterprise, is now following the Girl Scouts’ successful model of cookie sales as fundraisers and is using its nationally known Greyston Bakery baked goods as fundraising products for local organizations. Some local groups are donating a portion of their proceeds back to Greyston. This program, still a pilot project, raised about $10,000 in wholesale revenue for Greyston. A new social enterprise (a mission-driven organization) is in the works and is expected to generate $1 million a year. Greyston is looking to raise $350,000 in investment funding, and the new enterprise will result in at least 50 new jobs in the county. Details will be revealed later this year. Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) is using social media to promote a “flash raffle” of 300 tickets to win a luxury suite at a Yankees-Red Sox game and expects to raise $35,000 in just two months. YPIE also turned its 2012 donor campaign brochure into an online “flipbook,” and the web address was forwarded throughout Yonkers by community influencers, saving thousands of dollars on printing expenses. According to recent statistics, online giving is on the upswing—8 percent higher in the first four months of 2012 than it was during the same time period in 2011. “Live” fundraising is still alive and well, however. Celebrity yoga teacher and White Plains native Gwen Lawrence, will be leading a one-hour class, expected to raise $30,000, on June 20 on the streets of White Plains. Two resourceful Scarsdale women, Sandi Schneider and Joan Blieberg, held their third Mah-Jongg Invitational to benefit Gilda’s Club Westchester, a free cancer-support community located in White Plains. They raised $50,000 from this year’s tournament.
Hot Properties – 914INC.’s Commercial Real Estate Showcase
Property: 1 New King St, White Plains
Rakow Commercial Realty Group, Inc.
Craig S. Ruoff
(914) 422-0100, ext. 15
Availability: “Green” headquarters building for sale or lease; 20,384 total square feet (10,137 on the first floor and 10,247 on the second floor)
Selling Points: Solar panels (which reduce electric costs by 10 to 12 percent), good visibility, new roof, new windows, 58 parking spaces, elevator, and loading dock
Downside: Second floor cannot be subdivided; no cafeteria in building, but it does have a kitchen.
Women, Worth & Wealth is the topic of the annual spring luncheon being held by the Women’s Enterprise Development Center at Tappan Hill Mansion (81 Highland Ave, Tarrytown) from 11 am to 2 pm. Mika Brzezinski, bestselling author and co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, will be the keynote speaker. For sponsorship opportunities and information, call (914) 948-6098, ext.10, or visit wedcbiz.org/events/annual event.
Energy is a hot topic these days. The Blueprint for Westchester initiative of the Westchester County Association, “Meeting Demand: The Policy and Politics Behind New York’s Energy Outlook,” will take place at the Westchester Marriott (670 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown). Register before June 13 at http://westchester.org/eventregister.php?event=160 or contact Laura Montopoli at email@example.com or (914) 948-6444.
“Social Media Made Simple” is the topic of a workshop presented by the Yonkers Downtown Waterfront BID and Yonkers Partners in Education at the Riverfront Library (1 Larkin Center, Yonkers) from 6 to 8 pm. Constant Contact local expert and 914INC.’s INComing blogger Nancy A. Shenker will also include a “bonus” section on how brands can use Pinterest to build awareness and sales. Register by calling the Yonkers Downtown BID office at (914) 969-6660 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses can connect with more than 100 other professionals at the Business Council of Westchester's Business Breakfast Dialogue from 7:30 to 9 am. This ongoing series has moved to a new location: the Hilton Westchester (699 Westchester Ave, Rye Brook). The fee is $28 and members only can register at http://events.westchesterny.org/sbaweb/events/events.asp?&id=1&wpid=-101&details=True&date=&cale_id=546&newsession=TRUE&sid=776738700.
The Westchester County Association hosts "Leadership for a Smarter Planet" from 5:30 to 7pm at IBM on 19 Skyline Drive in Hawthorne. Linda Sanford, senior vice president of Enterprise Transformation at IBM, (photo) will share her observations on what it takes to be an effective, tranformative leader in our fast-changing global marketplace. Register at http://www.westchester.org/eventregister.php?event=184.
The Westchester County Association will hold its Annual Summer Networking Reception and celebrate the Blueprint for Westchester County's first anniversary. The Blueprint is a private-sector-led economic-development initiative. The event is at Tappan Hill Mansion (81 Highland Ave, Tarrytown). RSVP at http://www.westchester.org/eventregister.php?event=212.
The 6th Annual Erin O'Connor Memorial Golf Outing takes place on Monday, July 23, from 10:30 am to 8 pm at the Salem Golf Club in North Salem and benefits Friends of Karen, a children’s charity based in Purdys. Eileen and Michael O'Connor initiated this event to honor their daughter Erin, a Friends of Karen child, who died of a brain tumor at the age of 13. Sponsored by Coldwell Banker's Yorktown Heights office, the tournament has raised more than $100,000 to help other Friends of Karen families. Friends of Karen is the only organization that provides emotional, financial, and advocacy support to families of children with life-threatening illnesses, from diagnosis through treatment. Since 1978, it has touched the lives of more than 11,800 children. Other sponsors of the event include Entergy, NE Moves Mortgage, LLC, Travelers Insurance, Rockingham Motors, and Park Ford of Mahopac, Inc. Full golfer package: $225. Cocktails, dinner, and networking only: $75. Hole sponsorship: $100. Information and reservations can be found at https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=fad519.
Do you have tips, scoop, or gossip concerning business in Westchester? If so, our INComing blogger, Nancy, is all ears. Please e-mail her with a short pitch to 914incominggmail.com.
Upcoming events should be submitted no later than Sunday, 6/17, to be included in the 6/26 edition. Please submit business events only; no fundraisers or consumer events