Westchester County Business News, December 29, 2015

Purchase-based PepsiCo launches health-conscious vending machine, plus more going on in the county business scene.

Purchase-Based PepsiCo Launches Health-Conscious Vending Machine

Aimed at capturing the evolving needs of today’s consumer and the increased desire for healthier choices on-the-go, Purchased-based PepsiCo recently announced the launch of a new, state-of-the-art food and beverage vending initiative called “Hello Goodness.” Debuting at the Beverage Digest Future Smarts Conference in New York City, the vending unit offers good- and better-for-you product choices from the company’s food and beverage portfolio. PepsiCo will place several thousand units throughout the US in 2016 in a variety of locations, including select healthcare, recreational, transportation, governmental, workplace and educational facilities.

The Hello Goodness vending machine—which will also be available in a beverage-only version—features PepsiCo products such as such as Naked Juice, Smartfood Delight popcorn, Lay’s Oven Baked potato chips, Quaker Real Medleys bars, Pure Leaf iced tea, Propel Electrolyte Water, Tropicana Pure Premium and Sabra Ready-to-Eat Hummus cups. The Hello Goodness vending machine also goes beyond traditional vending machines in the market, with features including a digital point-of-sale touch screen with product nutritional information, and options for cashless and digital vending. It is also a “smart” machine, giving PepsiCo real-time consumer preference insights to further inform future offerings.

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Rebuild NY Now Statewide Campaign Stops in Westchester To Push for Infrastructure Improvements

Rebuild NY Now, a broad-based coalition seeking to raise public awareness about the issues impacting New York State’s infrastructure, continued its campaign and call for parity recently at a stop in Yonkers, featuring local elected officials, members of organized labor, and private local businesses. The coalition stood together at a press conference to call on the Legislature and the Governor to include funding parity between the capital plans of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation in the 2016-17 Executive Budget.

From left: Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; Ross J. Pepe, Rebuild NY Now and President of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley, Inc.; Assemblymember Shelley Mayer; and Senator George Latimer.

Mike Elmendorf, President and CEO of Rebuild New York Now said, “Everyone from labor to Chambers of Commerce and elected officials from across New York have come together in Yonkers today because our crumbling roads and bridges are in serious need of attention and, more importantly, are in serious need of a multibillion dollar capital commitment from the State.” Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano added, “As we continue to grow, it’s more important than ever that infrastructure improvements keep pace.” And Senator George Latimer (D-Westchester) noted, “The decay of our roads and bridges has been an issue for so long… We have made some progress, particularly with enhancement of CHIPS funding in previous budgets. However, economic development goes hand-in-hand with infrastructure, and we need to fix our roads and bridges now.”

Lowe’s Among Businesses Getting Investments from YIDA

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The Yonkers Industrial Development Agency (YIDA) is ending 2016 with a burst of activity as it added three more major projects to the roster of businesses it is bringing to Yonkers. The three projects—a Lowe’s home store, a craft brewery and the conversion of a Nepperhan Avenue warehouse to offices and commercial—bring the total amount of new development in Yonkers well past the $1 billion threshold announced just a few months ago. Lowe’s Home Centers plans to build a $35 million store with 85,000 square feet of sales space, including a garden center. The store will be located at the Ridge Hill shopping center, at the undeveloped portion of the shopping center at Ridge Hill Boulevard and Otis Drive. The project is expected to provide 90 full time jobs. Construction is scheduled to begin in May of 2016 with completion by the end of 2016. The YIDA will assist by providing a $978,000 sales tax exemption on materials used in construction, with the bulk of the exemption coming from the state and county share of the taxes. The YIDA also gave initial approval to assisting Fondak Enterprises with opening a craft brewery at 72 Alexander Street in the downtown waterfront area. Operated by Andy, Jeff, and Dot Fondak, the brewery will be a new enterprise that will feature an 11,000 square foot production and sales facility plus a taproom open to the public. The YIDA’s contribution will provide a $144,000 sales tax exemption on materials used in construction, a $27,000 mortgage tax exemption, and a temporary property tax exemption to be negotiated.  Finally, the YIDA gave initial approval to assisting the new owner of 470 Nepperhan Avenue with purchasing the adjacent building at 460 Nepperhan. Thethi Realty, owned by Lewis Gjelaj, will purchase the property from its existing private owner and seek new commercial tenants to complement its activities at the adjacent 460 Nepperhan Avenue property. The YIDA will assist by providing an $89,000 sales tax exemption on materials used in construction, an $18,000 mortgage tax exemption, and a temporary property tax abatement to be determined.

Atlantic Westchester and SunBlue Energy Achieve Westchester Green Business Certification

Two local businesses, Atlantic Westchester, a commercial and industrial HVAC company, and SunBlue Energy, a home and commercial solar installer, celebrated their official Westchester Green Business-Certification (WGBC) in a joint ceremony on December 17, 2015. Atlantic Westchester and SunBlue Energy collaborated to work together as WGB-Certified members. Atlantic Westchester engaged SunBlue Energy’s services this past summer to install solar panels at its facility to improve its own energy conservation efforts.

From left: Chris Hale, Jane Solnick, John Ravitz, Bud Hammer, Lisa Hammer, Dani Glaser, Chris Burdick, Kevin Plunkett, Mark Thielking, Midge Iorio

“It is very exciting to celebrate the Westchester Green Business-Certification of both Atlantic Westchester and Sun Blue Energy. Their collaboration represents the highest goals of the program that encourages member organizations to work together towards a sustainable future,” said Dani Glaser, Creator and Co-Director of the Westchester Green Business Challenge and Certified program. The certification event was held at Atlantic Westchester’s office in Bedford Hills. “Atlantic Westchester is committed to reducing our environmental footprint and promoting eco-friendly practices at all levels throughout our organization—from solar panels to multi-zoned HVAC systems to LED lightening to employee education,” said Bud Hammer, President of Atlantic Westchester. 

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Astorino Working to Lure NYC Commercial Realtors To Westchester

As part of an ongoing initiative to promote Westchester County as the “smart spot for business,” County Executive Robert P. Astorino recently met with a group commercial real estate brokers in Manhattan to tout the many benefits of doing business in Westchester. “I’m here today to tell you that Westchester is open for business,” Astorino said. “There is a certain percentage of your clients that’s either being priced out of the city or whose needs just don’t match. That’s the client I want to talk about today. The one that‘s about to get away.”

From left: William M. Mooney, III, Director, County Office of Economic Development; Nick Bates, Associate, CBRE; Meredith Maher, Associate, CBRE; County Executive Robert P. Astorino; William Cuddy, Executive Vice President, CBRE; Gregory Sundel, Director of Transaction Management/Global Workplace Solutions, CBRE; Ramon Kochavl, Managing Director, CBRE

Speaking to a group of 30 CBRE brokers December 17 at CBRE’s Midtown offices, he noted that Westchester is not looking to steal or poach business from New York City. “But if there are circumstances when your clients are looking for options outside the city or are thinking of leaving New York State, I would like Westchester to be in the mix, if not your first call,” he said. Astorino outlined the key benefits that make Westchester a great place to do business—access to a highly educated workforce; extensive transportation network with easy access to New York City; competitively priced office space that’s half the cost of New York City and a “live work play” dynamic that is well-suited to a balanced lifestyle. Astorino also explained the various financial incentives available through the county’s Industrial Development Agency, including sales tax exemption, mortgage recording tax exemption and tax exempt bond financing.

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