Cross County Plans a Hotel, Business Council Study Finds Greater Confidence in Westchester, White Plains Commercial RE Biz Named Top Leasing Firm



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Howard E. Greenberg

Howard E. Greenberg of Howard Properties, Ltd., of White Plains seems to be conquering space—commercial space, that is. CoStar Group, Inc., the number-one provider of commercial real estate research and information services for property investors and sales professionals, selected Greenberg as a CoStar Power Broker Award winner for being the “best of the best” in commercial real estate brokerage. CoStar Group’s annual recognition program, now in its 10th year, spotlights the US firms and individual brokers who closed the highest transaction volume in commercial property sales and leases during the 2011 calendar year. Greenberg’s firm was also selected as a Top Leasing Firm. Greenberg was measured against all the commercial real estate brokers active in the Westchester/Fairfield market and ranked based on overall leasing transaction volume for 2011 as reported by CoStar.


Greenberg’s most significant transaction in 2011 was the largest office lease in Westchester County, in which he represented the law firm of Wilson Elser in a lease of 125,000 square feet at 1133 Westchester Avenue in White Plains. Among Greenberg’s other noteworthy 2011 transactions were: a 28,007-square-foot lease expansion and extension for Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry, LLP, in Hawthorne; a 9626-square-foot relocation and expansion for TMPG, Inc., in White Plains; and a 9514-square-foot lease expansion and extension for Knuckles, Komosinski & Elliott, LLP, in Elmsford.

While some businesses are moving into new “homes,” other Westchester professionals are returning to old roosts. David McKay Wilson, a Westchester journalist and a freelance writer for college publications, has returned to the Journal News after departing in 2007 after 21 years. He left to develop his freelance business and flex his entrepreneurial muscle and write long-form pieces. "I wasn't looking to return," McKay Wilson says. "But I received a call from the Journal News in March and realized I missed being part of the public policy discussion in Westchester." His work has appeared in magazines at more than 100 colleges and universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, and the University of Chicago. In his new post, Wilson will write on public affairs and tax policy. "It feels great to be back in the mix," says Wilson. "I sense a real hunger in Westchester for informed reporting and commentary on public affairs. I look forward to providing it." [photo]

The Westchester Children’s Museum (WCM), a nonprofit educational outlet for children, just appointed Pleasantville resident Julie Sootin as director of development. Sherri Brown Francois of Bedford, Lloyd Mandell of Greenwich, Connecticut, and David Simon of Scarsdale also joined WCM’s Board of Directors. WCM currently is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to open the doors of its new interactive learning center in the historic North Bathhouse of Playland Park in Rye.

New Businesses, Relocations, and Operations
Sleeping or canoodling at the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers is probably not a wise idea. However, that will change in 2014, when construction is scheduled to complete on a 155-room hotel. Friend Development Group, LLC, designed the new hotel within a pre-existing nine-story office tower in the middle of the Center (formerly the Cross County Hospital). A new structure with public areas is also part of the plan. Friend Development is in active discussions with several national hotel brands and wants to announce their selection in the coming months. Hotel construction is slated to begin in the last quarter of 2012.“Welcoming a major hotel to Yonkers will be of great benefit to Yonkers and its residents, creating one-hundred and fifty construction jobs and up to forty full-time employees,” says Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “The building of this hotel is the natural next step in revitalizing the Cross County Shopping Center and its surrounding area.” [photo]
As for the canoodling, we’re not judging!

Kudos
 Westchester businesses appear to have a sunny outlook, according to a study by the Business Council of Westchester (BCW). The Business Confidence Index, researched and analyzed by BCW member DataKey Consulting, LLC, of Mount Kisco, increased from 54.2 in the fourth quarter of 2011 to a current level of 64.8 (on a scale of 1 to 100). This reading represents a tremendous increase in confidence overall since the inception of the index in December 2008, when levels were at 27, and is the second-highest reported confidence level since then, next to the second quarter of 2011, when it was at 66.3. “Businesses are hiring, spending, and beginning to flourish once again,” says Business Council President/CEO Marsha Gordon. The Westchester Business Confidence Index tracks key metrics, such as staffing levels, top-line revenues, bottom-line profits, capital spending budgets, and other industry performance data each quarter, based on information from more than 100 CEOs and business leaders of BCW-member companies.

 

Biz Buzz

Tuning into reality television on a Monday night may mean banal entertainment for a million viewers. However, it means a smart marketing technique and an increase in awareness and sales for TransFORM, a custom cabinet company in New Rochelle. Co-founder Andreas Messis “gifted” a $16,000 retail value custom walk-in closet to reality star Bethenny Frankel who, according to a post on TransFORM’s Facebook page, then tweeted to her more than 850,000 followers: “I’m so excited for my new closet. I’m going to see Andrea Gary from @transformhome. She’s the best!” Messis is no stranger to this type of brand promotion and has seen it result in increased sales and awareness. Viewing it as another form of marketing, he says, “This is just part of our advertising budget now. It’s always good to be out in the public eye, and reality TV is just a natural extension.” Messis smartly negotiated a contract with Bravo that allows him to mention the affiliation with Frankel in his own advertising and publicity.

 

Hot Properties – 914INC.’s commercial real estate showcase

Property: Ground floor retail space
360 N Bedford Rd (Rte 117)
Mount Kisco

Brokered by:
Admiral Real Estate Services Corp.
Joan Simon
jsimon@admiralrealestate.com

Availability: 1,000-5,000 square feet; ground floor with 15’ - 40’ frontage
Selling Points: Primary shopping thoroughfare where your retail neighbors are Sears, Petco,FedEx/Kinko’s, and Radiance MedSpa. Traffic count is more than 17,900/day. Ample parking. Food allowed. Rent reduced.
Downside: Limited visibility from Route 117.

 

914 Datebook

THURSDAY, 5/3
“Poker for Pets” with World Poker Tour Events and Mercedes-Benz of White Plains. Adopt-A-Dog, a charity that raises funds for its Armonk-based animal shelter and rescue is holding a poker party at Mercedes-Benz of White Plains at 50 Bank Street. It includes catered food and drinks and a sports memorabilia auction. 7-11 pm. $350 initial buy-in per player with partial proceeds benefiting Adopt-A-Dog. Spectator fee is $150 per person. 7—11 pm. Contact Event Chair Annie Angellino (annie@adoptadog.org), visit adoptadog.org, or call (914) 273-1674 or (203) 629-9494.


MONDAY, 5/7
The Benefits of Blogging for Your Business,” hosted by Professional Women of Westchester, is scheduled from 6 to 8 pm at the Crowne Plaza at 66 Hale Avenue in White Plains. Local bloggers Stacy Geisinger of StacyKnows, Dagmar Bleasdale of Dagmar’s Momsense, and Liz Nunan, vice president of global business development for Houlihan Lawrence, will share their wisdom. Panel will be moderated by Lisa Kaslyn of Prosper Communications. Register online at professionalwomenofwestchester.com; $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Cash bar with appetizers included. Pre-payment is required.

THURSDAY, 5/10
Ellen DePasquale, regional development director of Constant Contact, a digital marketing service provider
, will speak at Plates restaurant at 121 Myrtle Boulevard in Larchmont about “Social Media Made Simple.” The lunch and program is $25. Networking begins at 11:30 am. RSVP at: constantcontact.com/local/newyorkmetro/events.jsp?template=day&trumbaEmbed=date%3D20120510

FRIDAY, 5/11
The
Westchester Children’s Museum is holding its annual benefit at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, in White Plains at 7 pm. Event honoree is Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. Tickets are $200 and discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. RSVP to rsvp@discoverwcm.org or (914) 421-5050.

WEDNESDAY, 5/16
Be entertained, mingle, and help educate college students as you listen to Broadway star Christine Andreas, starting at 6:30pm. “Sing for Scholarships” is a fundraiser at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill and contributions go towards Westchester Community College’s scholarship program. Tickets are $300. Call (914) 600-6558 or visit sunywcc.edu/aboutwcc/wcc_foundation/foundation_events.htm

THURSDAY, 5/17
A panel of experts, including government and private-sector professionals, will discuss “How the Coming Health Care Exchanges Can Impact Your Business” from 11:30 am to 2 pm at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Tarrytown, hosted by the Westchester County Association. Event sponsors are Compufit, Inc.; Mahopac National Bank; and Mercy College. For details and to register, go to westchester.org for panelist backgrounds and more information.

TUESDAY, 5/22
Breakfast with Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore from 8 to 9:00 am, as the Westchester County Association’s “Political Friday” moves to a Tuesday for this special event, sponsored by Paraco Gas. It will be held in the Executive Dining Room at 1133 Westchester Avenue, White Plains. Register at westchester.org.

SUNDAY, 6/3
The Westchester Children’s Museum Explore-a-thon will include interactive and educational fun, such as  balsa wood airplane flying, a pop-up water park, a wind tunnel, storytelling, and music. The event is being held to raise funds to construct the walls of the county's first children's museum. All are welcome; 9 am to noon. Cost is $5 per person. If you would like to sponsor a family, please call (914) 421-5050 for more information. Rye Town Park (adjacent to the Boardwalk), Rye. To register go to https://www.discoverwcm.org/exploreathon/signup.cfm

MONDAY, 6/4
Scott Vaccaro, founder of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, will speak before members of The Westchester County Association’s Young Professionals group. Location: Captain Lawrence Brewery, 444 Saw Mill River Road, Elmsford. Registration is limited to 100. Go to westchester.org/article.php?a=156.

MONDAY 6/11
Guiding Eyes for the Blind's 35th Annual Golf Classic, will take place at the Mount Kisco Country Club, 10 Taylor Road, Mount Kisco, from 8:30 am - 8 pm. Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning will host the event, featuring some of the best blind golfers in the US. Details are at guidingeyes.org

MONDAY 6/25
The 11th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic with New York State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, benefiting Music Conservatory of Westchester’s need-based scholarship program, includes lunch, a cocktail reception, a gourmet dinner with live entertainment, and a day of golf and tennis. Honorees are Senator Oppenheimer and Broadway star Steven Schwartz. The event will be held at Whippoorwill Country Club in Armonk. Foursomes start at $2,400. For details, event schedule, and/or to participate, contact Chris Meyer at chris@musiced.org or call (914) 761-3900, or for more info, visit musicconservatory.org

Do you have tips, scoop, or gossip concerning business in Westchester? If so, our new INComing blogger, Nancy, is all ears-please email her at 914incoming@gmail.com