Hot Happenings In Westchester’s Commercial Real Estate Market
New info on the county's commercial office vacancies, new purchases, and relocations.
Ups and Downs for Westchester Market in Q1 2014
A recent report released by the Stamford office of JLL, a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services, shows both good news and bad news for the Westchester commercial real estate market in the first quarter of 2014. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: JLL finds weak touring activity and leasing velocity in Westchester due to “minimal or no growth among critical office-using industries.” And it shows elevated vacancy rates throughout the county in Q1 due to downsizing and current businesses exiting the county.
The county posted 306,870 square feet in deal volume in the first quarter of the year, slightly more than half the 591,271 square feet completed 12 months ago. The overall vacancy rate rose to 20.8 percent in the first quarter, an increase of 12.4 percent (or 2.3 percentage points) from 18.5 percent one year earlier. Our Class-A vacancy rate also grew, to 22.7 percent this quarter, an increase of 10.7 percent (or 2.2 percentage points) from 20.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013.
The good news? “Westchester County currently has two new commercial office buildings under construction for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. totaling 297,000 square feet, and a new 85,000-square-foot medical building for WestMed Medical Group,” said Chris O’Callaghan, managing director and Westchester County market lead for JLL. "This is cause for much optimism, as there has not been this much commercial construction in Westchester County in more than 30 years.”
The growth in Q1 came from education and health care-related expansions, which spurred both new construction and adaptive re-use, Callaghan noted.
MBIA Heads to Purchase
Financial services firm MBIA recently signed the largest new lease Westchester County has seen since 2012 when it inked a deal for 85,000 square feet at Buildings 1 and 2 at the Centre at Purchase in Purchase. The company will move about 245 people to the Manhattanville Road offices, and plans to sell its current Armonk headquarters at 113 King St. The Centre at Purchase, a “high-performance corporate campus” is owned by OCC Purchase LLC, a venture comprising George Comfort & Sons, Inc. and O'Connor Capital Partners.
RCM Technologies On The Move
RCM Technologies, Inc., a publicly traded technology company, will soon relocate its Westchester offices to owner/developer Charles S. Cohen’s 333 Westchester Avenue, a 39-acre, 500,000-square-foot Class A corporate office campus in White Plains. The firm has signed a 9,000-square-foot lease comprising a portion of the second floor in the East Building of the office campus, and expects to move from its existing location in Purchase in the third quarter of 2014. It joins some other big names that have recently signed leases at 333 Westchester Avenue, including Reis, Inc., USI Inc., Prager Metis, CURE, USA Vision and Amalgamated Bank.
County Coach Corporation Buys $1.6 Million Warehouse
Family-owned transportation company County Coach Corporation recently purchased a $1.6-million warehouse to house its expanding company. The company will use the facility, a 12,000-square-foot warehouse and office space at 30 Nursery Lane in Rye, to centralize its offices, house its growing fleet, and carry out repairs at the location. The building offers multiple offices, a conference room, large sales meeting room, and two lunchrooms. The deal was brokered by NAI Freidland.