Westchester County Business News, March 30, 2016

Jefferson Valley Mall announces new shops; Reader’s Digest editorial staff returning to Westchester; Historic buildings continue to attract business interest; and more business news.

Jefferson Valley Mall Announces New Shops As Part of Renovation

Jefferson Valley Mall shoppers will soon enjoy new and updated retail offerings as part of the significant renovation project currently underway at the Yorktown shopping center. DICK’S Sporting Goods and Torrid are both anticipated to open later this year, while H&M has relocated to a new space within the center.

“This is an exciting time for Jefferson Valley Mall as we continue to evolve and offer the best possible shopping experience,” said David Napolitan, general manager at Jefferson Valley Mall. “These new additions, plus ongoing interior and exterior renovations, will signify our commitment to the Yorktown Heights community as their place to shop and relax.” Also as part of Jefferson Valley Mall’s ongoing renovation, shoppers will begin to notice new mall branding, interior cosmetic upgrades, and other retail offerings, such as Hot Topic, which recently opened near New York & Company and the affordable, fashion-forward retailer H&M, which recently unveiled its brand new space in the Macy’s Wing. 

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New Incubator Tennant at BioInc@NYMC

New York Medical College (NYMC) this week welcomed Accent BioSystems to BioInc@NYMC, a biotech incubator. Founded in 2015 and led by Yury Patskovsky, Ph.D., Accent BioSystems is developing new technologies in protein production, analysis, crystallization, and structure determination. BioInc@NYMC is the Hudson Valley’s only biotechnology incubator operating with a mission to discover new ways of preventing and treating human disease and disability, an aim that is shared with the start-ups that the incubator currently houses and attracts.

A BioInc@NYMC lab from New York Medical College’s Valhalla campus

Accent BioSystems joins BioInc@NYMC’s existing tenants, which include: Four LLC, a firm that is creating a new category in sustainable nutrition with products that instantly curb cravings; MediSprout, which provides physicians and patients with tools to instantly connect and schedule virtual visits; MOE Medical Devices LLC, which is creating cold electrical plasma therapeutics; Conversion Energy Enterprises, which is developing and prototyping innovative laser products for medical applications; and SHY Therapeutics, which is researching and developing therapeutic oncology products. Launched in October 2014, BioInc@NYMC occupies a 10,000-square-foot wing of a 129,000-square-foot campus building.

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Historic Sanborn Map Building in Pelham Continues to Thrive

The architecturally distinct, SoHo-style Sanborn Map Building—a 75,000 square foot loft-style office building at 629 Fifth Avenue in Pelham —recently added several new tenants, according to Caspi Development, a residential and commercial real estate ownership, management and development firm. King & King LLP, a construction law practice, occupied approximately 1,350 square feet on the first floor in February 2016. Additional tenants which joined in the last year include Archie Comic Publications, Inc., which now occupies 10,300 square feet on the building’s first floor; Dolphin Equipment Corporation, an HVAC design firm, which leased 1,700 square feet of space on the second floor; Capital Projects Consulting, LLC, a construction management firm, which leased nearly 1,600 square feet on the second floor; and The JFM Group, a fundraising and event management firm, which leased approximately 1,450 square feet of space on the first floor. 

Completed in 1906 by the Sanborn Map Company, the building’s traditional façade, adorned with unique, century old relief sculptures of ancient mapmakers, serves as a visual reminder of its impressive history. One of the oldest and largest map companies in the United States, the Sanborn Map Company still occupies a major portion of the building’s first floor.

 

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Biotech Center Developer Seeking Incentives After All

After an initial promise not to seek property tax exemptions for its role in building the 60-acre, $1.2 billion Westchester BioScience & Technology Center in Valhalla it appears that developer John Fareri of Fareri Associates is now looking for incentives before moving forward.  Fareri told The Journal News/lohud.com’s editorial board last week, “We will be looking for incentives.” His company, he said, plans to seek out potential tax deals with the state, county, and the Town of Mount Pleasant. The county and the town each have an Industrial Development Agency with which tax packages could be negotiated.

 

Reader’s Digest Editorial Team Moving Back to Westchester

Since leaving its iconic Chappaqua offices in 2010, the bulk of the Reader’s Digest editorial staff has been based at a Manhattan location. But that will change next month, when some 40 editorial positions are being moved to the company’s White Plains location. The move, announced last week by parent company Trusted Media Brands, will help the company “foster a stronger, more integrated editorial staff across all properties under the RD umbrella,” according to Trusted Media spokeswoman Pauli Cohen. For more on Trusted Media Brands, check out our Q2 2016 article on CEO Bonnie Kintzer.

 

Banner Year for Westchester Community Foundation

The Westchester Community Foundation, one of the largest funders of nonprofits in Westchester, recently announced its year-end giving total and a new vision for 2016. The Foundation celebrated a successful year in 2015, growing its endowment to $60 million and disbursing $6 million from donor-advised funds and discretionary grants. Through its discretionary grants program, the Foundation awarded a total of $1.7 million to 70 local nonprofits throughout the county. Grants ranged in size from $1,100 to $100,000, including support for services for low-income residents, underwriting for artist fellowships and cultural events, and the protection of the region’s watersheds.

 

New Rochelle Creates New Downtown Dining District

The New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) recently announced the formation of a new downtown restaurant district. Working together, restaurants and the BID will try to entice residents and visitors to dine downtown, with events like as future restaurant weeks, farm-to-table restaurant events, and projects joining the visual and performing arts with the culinary arts. The district was formed by the BID and a group of restaurateurs eager to promote downtown New Rochelle’s “dining renaissance.” “It makes sense for us to work together,” says Modern Restaurant owner Anthony Russo. “We’re all neighbors, running restaurants in a walkable city core, and we all face the same challenges and opportunities. If we join together to improve the area, we can create a downtown that is even more vibrant and enjoyable with more possibilities for residents and visitors alike.” Adds Ralph DiBart, the BID’s executive director: “We’re sure that many people will discover a restaurant scene so welcoming, with reasonable prices even on their everyday menus, that they will return many times.”

 

IDA Announces Funding for Two New Rental Projects

Last week, County Executive Rob Astorino announced that Westchester’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has approved support for two rental apartment projects in Ossining and White Plains with a total private investment of $57.6 million. The two developments will create approximately 430 construction and permanent jobs.

“We are pleased to provide incentives through the IDA for these two projects, one in Ossining, one in downtown White Plains, that will provide both affordable housing and market rate rentals,” said Astorino. “Each involves renovating existing properties, which creates construction jobs and enhances the neighborhoods where they are located.” The two projects are: Snowden House Apartments in Ossining, a $42 million project in which a 37-year old, 8-story apartment building is being acquired and extensively renovated into 124 affordable Section 8 rental apartments; and Norben Lofts in White Plains, which will convert a 48,000-square-foot vacant industrial building at 121 Westmoreland Avenue in White Plains into 65 market rate rental apartments targeted to young professionals. The Ossining project is anticipated to be completed in summer 2017 and expected to create approximately 120 construction and four permanent jobs; while the $15.6 million White Plains project, expected to take about one year, is expected to create approximately 300 construction jobs and six permanent jobs. 

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