Panel Discusses Changes In Higher Education

Academic leaders discuss fundamental changes to our universities, a groundbreaking ceremony for the long awaited Rivertowns Square, and more going on in the world of Westchester business.

Advances in technology, ever-changing market demands, and rising costs are fundamentally changing higher education and will transform how colleges and universities operate in the decades to come, a panel of academic leaders told members of The Business Council of Westchester on October 9. The event, called Higher Education: Strategies and Traditions, was the latest in The Business Council’s KeyBank Speaker Series. The panel featured Stephen J. Friedman, president of Pace University; Belinda S. Miles, Ed.D.,  president of Westchester Community College; Jon Strauss, PhD., president of Manhattanville College; and Michael J. Smith, president of Berkeley College.

The panel: standing, Geoffrey Thompson, managing partner of Thompson Bender. (Sitting from left) Stephen J. Friedman, president of Pace University; Belinda S. Miles, Ed.D., president of Westchester Community College; Michael J. Smith, president of Berkeley College and Jon Strauss, PhD., president of Manhattanville College.

Geoffrey Thompson, managing partner at Thompson & Bender, moderated the discussion, which touched on an array of issues including affordability, student loans, and rising costs; adapting curriculums that reflect the needs of employers while simultaneously providing students the ability to think, communicate, and make decisions; catering to mid-career professionals and those changing industries as well being on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of The BCW, praised the presidents and the broad ground they covered. “The discussion was as interesting as it was informative,” said Gordon. “Westchester County is fortunate to have so many forward-thinking institutions of higher education. Whether it’s training future workers or being centers in our communities, our colleges and universities are vital to Westchester County’s economy.”

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Rivertowns Square Groundbreaking in Dobbs Ferry

From left: Michael Klinger, Saber Dobbs Ferry; William Mooney, director of the Office of Economic Development for Westchester County; Douglas Smolev, Dobbs Ferry Capital Partners; Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett; Martin Berger, Saber Dobbs Ferry; Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino; Corey Rabin, Dobbs Ferry Capital Partners; Mayor Hartley Connett; Edward Plotkin, former chairman, Dobbs Ferry Planning Board; Christopher Lynch, Dobbs Ferry Capital Partners

Saber Dobbs Ferry, LLC hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, October 6, for the retail, dining, and entertainment portion of Rivertowns Square, the $130 million, 450,000-square-foot mixed-use development currently under construction in Dobbs Ferry. The ceremony was attended by more than 50 members of the community and featured remarks from County Executive Rob Astorino, Mayor Hartley Connett of Dobbs Ferry, and representatives from Saber Dobbs Ferry on the history of the project and the economic impact it will have on the community. Deputy County Executive Kevin J. Plunkett and William M. Mooney III, director of economic development for Westchester County, were also in attendance. The project will create over 650 full and part-time jobs, as well as 475 construction jobs, upon its completion. Scheduled to open in 2016, Rivertowns Square will feature a 138-room hotel, restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment along with 202 luxury apartments. The project is currently 80 percent leased and confirmed tenants include iPic Theaters, Mrs. Green’s Natural Food Market, Ulta Beauty, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Buddha Asian Bistro, Chop’t Salad, My Gym Children’s Fitness Center, The Learning Experience, and Hilton Garden Inn.

Generation Yonkers Debuts Its Second Generation

Last week, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano unveiled the second generation of the Generation Yonkers marketing campaign, an economic development initiative designed to position Yonkers as the next great urban frontier to live, work, and play.

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From left, Leo De La Cruz, Owner, Le One Fashions; Judith Huntington, President, The College of New Rochelle; Jairo Paredes, Operations Manager, Mindspark Interactive; Mayor Mike Spano; Peter Kelly, Chef and Owner, X2O Xaviars on the Hudson; Joe Cotter, President, iPark; and Kelly DeAngelo, Refinery Manager, American Sugar Refining.

The new campaign, which was developed by the Westchester-based advertising agency Thompson & Bender, features testimonials from prominent business leaders whose companies have recently moved to Yonkers, opened new start-ups, or expanded their operations in the City. The campaign kicked off its second generation with ads running for 10 weeks on Cablevision’s News 12, to be followed by a print and digital advertising campaign. As confirmation of the success of the original Generation Yonkers campaign launched last year, Mayor Spano announced that Yonkers currently has more than $1 billion in commercial and residential projects under development. “The development activity currently under way in Yonkers is unprecedented. The fact that the private sector is investing over a billion dollars in Yonkers undoubtedly demonstrates that our city is one of the most dynamic and exciting urban centers in the tri-state region,” Spano said.

Business leaders featured in the new campaign include Patricia Simone, President, Simone Management Group, which is developing a $35 million mixed-use complex of office, medical, and retail space on the site of the former Boyce Thompson Institute property; Joe Cotter, President of the iPark Hudson office complex on the waterfront; and Peter Kelly, renowned chef and owner of X2O Xaviars on the Hudson

Latest Westchester IDA Incentives Total $496 Million

At last month’s meeting, Westchester’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) announced it had approved incentives to move forward four projects that total more than $496 million in private investment and will create over 3,100 construction jobs and 422 permanent jobs. The developments are a major residential/retail complex in downtown White Plains, a biotech headquarters expansion in Tarrytown, an affordable housing project in Chappaqua, and a new hotel in Dobbs Ferry. “These job-creating projects will further strengthen the vitality of Westchester County’s economy,” said Astorino. “They will expand the county’s retail and hospitality sectors, enhance Westchester’s reputation as a center for biotech research, and provide an array of new housing opportunities.” Here are additional details on each project:

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• The IDA is providing $14 million in sales and mortgage recording tax incentives to Lennar Multifamily Communities, which is developing a $275 million residential and retail complex to be built in downtown White Plains. Lennar’s plan calls for demolishing the existing Westchester Pavilion retail complex at 60 South Broadway and constructing 95,600 square feet of retail space and 756,300 square feet of residential space. The project will create 2,895 construction jobs and 72 permanent jobs.

• Regeneron Pharmaceuticals will receive sales tax exemptions from the IDA for the new construction in its project to upgrade and expand its headquarters at the Landmark at Eastview in Tarrytown. The $196 million project includes $150 million for the expansion and $46 million for renovations of existing facilities The project will create 300 permanent jobs over the next seven years with a significant growth plan adding both laboratory and office space.

• The IDA is providing approximately $6 million in bond financing to Wilder Balter Partners of Elmsford, which is developing up to 32 units of affordable housing in the iconic former Reader’s Digest headquarters building at Chappaqua Crossing in the Town of New Castle. The $10.9 million project will create 50 construction jobs.

• Approximately $1.4 million in sales and mortgage recording tax exemptions from the IDA will go to White Marsh Holding LLC for its development of a 138-room Hilton Garden Inn to be built as part of the Rivertowns Square mixed-use retail development in Dobbs Ferry. The $17 million project will create 200 construction jobs and 50 full-time permanent jobs upon completion.

New Branding for Former Chappaqua Corp, Reader’s Digest

After 93 years, Reader’s Digest Association is changing its name to Trusted Media Brands Inc. “I look at this as the fact that we have all these brands and we’re always in the position of having to explain ourselves,” said Trusted Media Brands CEO Bonnie Kintzer in a statement following the recent announcement. “That’s not the position you want to be in.” The new name gives equal weight to the company’s full suite of brands, which expanded dramatically when RDA bought Reiman Publications for $760 million in 2002. “I look at this as a long overdue change,” noted Kintzer, who said she’s wanted to change the company’s name since she took over in April 2014. “It shows that we are a modern, current company with many brands, and what really runs through our brands is trust,” she added. The Trusted Media Brands portfolio now includes Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, Simple & Delicious, The Family Handyman, Country, Country Woman, Birds & Blooms, Farm & Ranch Living, Reminisce, EnrichU, The Taste Network, and Haven Home Media.

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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