Westchester IDA, LDC Provided Incentives For Private Projects Valued at $370 Million

Real Estate In-Depth | March 16, 2021

WHITE PLAINS—The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency and the Local Development Corporation provided financial incentives and tax-exempt bond financing to a host of developments that represented approximately $370 million in private investment in the county in 2020, despite the COVID pandemic.

The IDA approved incentives for four residential developments that are projected to create or retain more than 560 new residential units of which approximately half will be affordable. The projects include the 133-unit Marble Hall in Tuckahoe; the 144-unit Ebony Gardens in Mount Vernon; 106-unit Asbury Terrace Apartments in Tarrytown, and the re-development of the former YMCA building in downtown White Plains into 177 rental apartments. The projects in Mount Vernon, Tarrytown and Tuckahoe will maintain a total of 384 units of affordable housing. The projects, which represent a total private investment of $171 million, are expected to create 325 construction and full-time permanent jobs.

In what was the largest county IDA transaction in recent years, the IDA board voted in November to approve financial incentives for Morgan Stanley’s multi-year renovation of its 750,000-square-foot corporate office complex at 2000 Westchester Avenue in the Town of Harrison. The project represents an investment in Westchester County of not less than $150 million. Morgan Stanley will receive a sales tax exemption in the approximate range of $6.5 million to $13 million, depending on the final scope of the project. It is also seeking a PILOT agreement with the Town of Harrison.

Morgan Stanley’s renovation project has significant economic benefits for Westchester County, specifically, the retention and creative of hundreds of existing and new positions and construction jobs over the course of the project, IDA officials stated.

Westchester County’s Local Development Corporation provided $340 million in bond financing for two major not-for-profit institutions.

The LDC, which assists Westchester not-for-profit organizations in securing tax-exempt bond financing, approved a $300-million bond for Westchester County Healthcare Corporation, the public authority responsible for governing the Westchester Medical Center. The bond will be used to refinance outstanding debt of the Medical Center with $39 million to fund capital projects and new equipment at the Valhalla campus.

The LDC also approved a $40-million bond for Sarah Lawrence College and $546,000 in mortgage recording tax exemption. The proceeds will be used to refund $5 million in bonds issued to the college by the LDC in 2016; reduce the college’s reliance on a $15-million line of credit; provide $8.5 million to fund potential financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and $10 million for new initiatives and existing functions at the college.

“The unprecedented challenges of the past year demonstrate the vital importance of the IDA and LDC in growing Westchester’s economy. We are particularly pleased with the financial incentives approved by the IDA for Morgan Stanley’s major renovation of its corporate offices in Harrison. This project will provide a significant boost to the county’s economy,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

“We are proud of the fact that many of the residential projects approved for IDA incentives in 2020 included the development and renovation of hundreds of units of affordable housing which is consistent with the county’s ongoing commitment to providing quality affordable apartments in our communities,” said Westchester County IDA Chair Joan McDonald.

“The LDC played a vital role in 2020 with the approval of a total of $340 million in tax-exempt bond financing for two important institutions in our county—the Westchester Medical Center and Sarah Lawrence College. Both institutions contribute to the high quality of life that we enjoy in Westchester County,” said Westchester County IDA Director Bridget Gibbons who also serves as Director of the LDC.

In other highlights of 2020:

• Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced a new program whereby the IDA provides grants to small businesses and small not-for-profit corporations in an amount not to exceed $10,000. The IDA also made loans through the administration of the State Disaster Emergency Loan Program to small businesses and small not-for-profit corporations in an amount up to $25,000.

• The Office of Economic Development announced a one-on-one mentoring advisory services for small business owners who are struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program matches the mentor’s area of expertise with the specific skill set that the small business needs.

• The Office of Economic Development celebrated the graduation in September of the second cohort of the Element 46 incubator, a program designed to help catalyze growth of entrepreneurs. The Element 46 incubator provides programming and mentoring to enable startups to develop their businesses within a network of peers.

• Earlier in the year, the Office of Economic Development announced important changes to the county’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises program. Among the important changes is the establishment of percentage goals for county contracts with MWBEs for construction, professional services and goods. The goals are 20% for construction; 20% for professional services and 10 percent for goods.