Yonkers is the fourth most populated city in New York – the largest in Westchester County – and maintains within its 18 square miles a unique mix of non-profit organizations, commercial operations and private industries. On the strength of these resources, the city managed to turn a profit despite the global economic struggles of the past decade.
And now, a new era of business development in Yonkers has been firmly established on a foundation of … Legos! In October 2012, ground was broken on a $12 million, 32,300-square-foot LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, the first of its kind in the northeast United States. The much-anticipated family attraction – complete with a Lego re-creation of landmarks throughout Westchester County and New York City – is expected to open alongside the many shops, restaurants and entertainment venues already at Westchester’s Ridge Hill in spring 2013.
A few steps away, the new Monarch at Ridge Hill is an environmentally friendly, upscale urban village of four ultra-luxury condominium towers offering hotel-style amenities.
A very active Yonkers Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has ensured a positive outlook for the city through financial incentives and tax exemptions that help propel business activities forward. IDA-assisted projects in 2009 employed more than 8,564 full-time workers and created 1,300 construction jobs, rendering Yonkers the city with the lowest unemployment rate in New York. In 2010, work on the $50 million IPark MetroCenter was completed, providing 180,000 square feet of office and retail space and up to 100 residential units with a direct connection to the Yonkers train station.
In June 2012, the IDA approved four major projects totaling $221 million, ranging from residential to commercial development. Collins Yonkers, LLC is constructing a $60 million housing development on Yonkers’ beautiful waterfront, and the IDA has pledged to aid the development of the 22-story, 200-unit apartment complex with tax exemptions and abatements. The IDA also approved a $107.5 million project that would bring 330 units of housing to Warburton Avenue on a 4.6-acre parcel to be developed by River Club, LLC.
Capitalizing on one of the greatest natural resources in the country – the mighty Hudson River – Yonkers has seen the transformation of defunct waterfront buildings into active businesses, such as reviving an old trolley barn as an affordable apartment complex and fitness center. Additionally, a once-dilapidated pier now serves as a New York Water Taxi embankment for people commuting to Wall Street. These innovations help to attract young professionals searching for affordable living in an area easily accessible to New York City.
The IDA is also working to revive manufacturing in Yonkers. The IDA has approved assistance for Instock Cabinets, Inc., with the former Stewart Stamping factory on Central Park Avenue being converted into a showroom and assembly facility.
Yonkers’ health needs are served by two outstanding hospitals: St. John’s Riverside Hospital and St. Joseph’s Medical Center, both of which have long-established reputations for technological excellence and advanced treatment. Environmentally conscious initiatives are also attracting attention: In 2009, St. John’s Riverside received the Greater New York Hospital Association Award for “Greening” and won the Environmental Excellence Award from Practice Greenhealth, an organization comprised of healthcare institutions dedicated to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.
Major Yonkers attractions include the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers Raceway and many large shopping areas. www.cityofyonkers.com
• Elisha Otis opened the world’s first elevator factory on the banks of the Hudson River in 1853.
• Saint Andrew’s Golf Club – the nation’s oldest golf club and a USGA founding member – was opened 125 years ago in Yonkers by John Reid, “the founder of American golf.”