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Westchester County Business News, February 10, 2016

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Westchester Pavilion Redevelopment Project Gets Green Light

The vacant Westchester Pavilion in White Plains, a largely vacant 185,000 square foot enclosed mall which originally housed the old Alexander’s department store, is set to receive a $275 million facelift after the White Plains Common Council voted last week to move ahead with an ambitious redevelopment plan. The site, at 60 South Broadway, will be transformed into an 857,585 mixed-use commercial and residential property, featuring two 24-story residential towers (707 residential units total, including 43 affordable units) and 93,840 square feet of commercial space, including retail and restaurants. The project’s developer, known as Broadway and Maple Holdings LLC, is an affiliate of the Miami-based real estate firm Lennar Corp. As part of the project, a recreation and parks impact fee will be assessed for the residential units, creating $2.33 million to be used to enhance or develop city parks and playgrounds.

Astorino Pow-Wows With Business Council At Board of Directors Meeting

Unfunded mandates, soaring public pensions, and efforts to raise the minimum wage were among the hot topics discussed at a Board of Directors meeting of the Business Council of Westchester held January 28 featuring special guest County Executive Robert P. Astorino. In his overview of the county’s budget, Astorino noted that 75 percent of the $1.8 billion budget is for mandated programs leaving only 25 percent for discretionary spending. “Mandates are out of control,” he said. He also said soaring public pension costs are hurting the county and local municipalities. He noted that public pensions in New York are guaranteed a 7 percent annual return regardless of downturns in the market. On the controversial issue of raising the minimum hourly wage in New York State to $15, Astorino said it “will definitely put businesses out of business,” and added, “Fifteen dollars an hour is a completely arbitrary number with real negative impacts.” He urged BCW members to oppose the legislation. John Ravitz, Executive Vice President and COO of the BCW, said that the minimum wage issue will be a top priority when a delegation of BCW members travels to Albany on February 24 for the Annual Lobby Day to meet with legislators.

From left: BCW Executive Vice President and COO John Ravitz; BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon; County Executive Robert P. Astorino and BCW Chairman Anthony Justic

Astorino outlined what his administration is doing to keep the county’s fiscal house in order noting that there has been no increase in county tax levy for the past six years, which he said helps keep spending in check. On the economic development front, 2015 was a record year for the County’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which supported 14 projects with total private investment of more than $842 million. Looking ahead to 2016, Astorino outlined plans recently announced by Fareri Associates to develop a $1.2 billion bioscience and technology center on 60 acres of vacant county land adjacent to the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

IDA Announces Funds for Mamaroneck TOD Project and White Plains Affordable Housing

County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced last week that Westchester’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has approved support for a new 21-unit rental apartment building in Mamaroneck’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Zone. The $6.53 million project will create 40 construction jobs and 6 permanent jobs. The project, which is being developed by Comstock Residential Contracting, LLC, is designed to attract Millennials from New York City to live and work in Westchester County. The building includes 2,500 square feet of commercial space as well as two affordable residential units. 

The IDA also approved a bond issuance that will allow the White Plains Housing Authority (WPHA) to convert a 95-unit public housing development to a Section 8 affordable housing community. The $23.5 million project will create 35 construction and permanent jobs. Located at 120 Lake Street, the Lakeview Apartment Community is nearly fully occupied and has a substantial waiting list. The WPHA, which owns the 85,150-square-foot building, has received approval from the HUD to convert the building to Section 8 housing. A new tax credit entity, Lakeview Apartments LLC, will acquire the property from WPHA. Repairs and renovations to the 95 units will take about 12 months to complete. 

Business Council Announces Hall of Fame Awardees

Six local businesses will be honored at the 2016 Business Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Tuesday, April 19 at the Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle. The Business Council of Westchester announced the honorees last week, and they are:

• Corporate Citizenship: Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. Michael Israel, President and CEO, to accept the award.
• Entrepreneurial Success: Steiner Sports in New Rochelle. Brandon Steiner, Founder and CEO, to accept the award.
• Small Business Success: The Westchester Bank in White Plains. John Tolomer, President and CEO, to accept the award.
• Women in Business Success: Wendy Wollner, Founder & President, Balancing Life’s Issues, Inc.
• Family Owned Business: The College of Westchester in White Plains. Mary Beth Del Balzo, President, to accept the award.
• Chairman’s Recognition Award: N. Dain’s Sons Co., Inc. in Peekskill. Jeffrey Dain, President, to accept the award.

Northern Westchester Hospital Kicks Off Its Centennial Year

More than 150 guests, physicians, board members, employees, volunteers, elected officials, supporters, and artists gathered at Northern Westchester Hospital late last month to launch its centennial year and to celebrate 100 years of care. Both the executive and legislative branches of Westchester County government declared January 21, 2016 as Northern Westchester Hospital Day in Westchester. A ribbon cutting ceremony unveiled a new interactive timeline, a touch screen with video vignettes and audio, which takes visitors through the evolution of 100 years of care in the community. The digital timeline includes key milestones for the hospital such as expansions, technological advances, partnerships, and key moments in medical history. “Of course, so much has happened between our humble beginnings in 1916 and today: advancements in technology, our enhanced clinical capabilities, the growth and modernization of our campus, and most importantly, the positive impact we continue to have on the people who live in our community,” said Joel Seligman, the Hospital’s President and CEO.

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