A flourish of drama punctuated the Westchester County Association breakfast event yesterday when County Executive George Latimer signed a 99-year lease of the so-called North 60 property.
on the dais in front of a crowd of some 200 Westchester business executives and elected officials at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown. The North 60 project, which has been in the works for the past decade and was also championed by Latimer’s predecessor Rob Astorino, comprises 60 acres of undeveloped land in Valhalla on the Grasslands Reservation, near the current site of Westchester Medical Center.
A move to further solidify the county’s reputation as a rapidly growing and world-class biotech destination, the $1.2 billion North 60 project will include a hub for biotech/medical technology research and development, as well as retail and hotel space. (An earlier attempt at also including a residential component has been scrapped.) The County is partnering with Greenwich-based developer John Fareri of Fareri Associates (known for his association with the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital) on the project.
Latimer and John Fareri signing the lease.
After signing the lease, Latimer told the crowd the North 60 project will bring some 7,000-9,000 jobs to the county, as well as roughly 4,000 construction jobs, and is expected to generate $9 million annually in property taxes while paying about $7 million in rent to the county. Of the project, Latimer said, “The 60 acres here will be a biotech center that can attract people to our area where they will see Westchester as a central place.” Fareri told reporters, “At long last, we can move forward with what we are confident will be a major economic engine for Westchester County and the region. The concept for North 60 has been in the works for a decade, and now we are ready to see our vision come to life.”
The signing of the lease — which WCA President and CEO Bill Mooney called “one of the best things in the history of Westchester County” — came about thanks to what Latimer summed up as close and effective partnership with Fareri. “We had numerous meetings ensuring we were making the best deal for the taxpayer and now we are partners moving forward,” he said.
The 99-year lease provides for the development of the property in accordance with a Master Development Plan in several phases. The first phase requires the developer to create 220,000 sq. ft. devoted to biotech and medical technology use, 100,000 sq. ft. in medical office space, 80,000 sq. ft. in retail space, and a hotel with 120 rooms and conference facilities.