BCW Task Force Issues Recommendations to Assist In Westchester’s Economic Recovery from Pandemic

Real Estate In-Depth | June 2020

Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. FILE PHOTO

RYE BROOK—The Business Council of Westchester recently issued an extensive list of strategies and recommendations to assist the state and Westchester County in their reemergence from the coronavirus pandemic.

The report released on June 1 offers recommendations from the 46 members of the BCW Westchester Economic Recovery Task Force who represent a wide range of industry sectors in the county including: arts, biotech, energy/environment; entertainment, hospitality, transportation, finance, healthcare, higher education, municipalities, not-for-profits, professional services, real estate brokerage and construction, retail and small business.

“As Westchester County begins its ‘re opening’ Phase 1 process, the BCW Westchester Economic Recovery Task Force will continue to meet and look to identify strategies and systems that will assist businesses over these next few months. We will continue to provide the Cuomo and Latimer administrations with recommendations that hopefully will be of help to their long term plans,” said BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon.

“This significant and timely report is another example of the BCW being on the forefront of today’s vitally important economic development issues. We commend our Task Force members for their valuable expertise and insight that will help guide Westchester’s successful reemergence from this terrible pandemic,” she added.

In the report, among its recommendations concerning the real estate brokerage industry, the task force advocates for extending tax credits to developers/owners who make capital expenditures for new construction and to owners/ leaseholders of older properties that install modern HVAC in their buildings with improved air circulation in tenant spaces and other common areas in multi‐tenanted buildings.

The task force also stated that it is “Vital for real estate agents to be allowed to practice in person services with appropriate health and safety protocols and social distancing to minimize contact.”

Other real estate-related recommendations included:

• Simplify/Amend SEQRA to expedite approval processes and encourage developers who find state regulations too stringent to enter the market.

• Reopening schools, which is in phase four, may be appropriate to open sooner in some counties that are under control.

• Streamline cumbersome business licensing requirements and regulations that inhibit businesses from opening or operating in the state.

• Other issues of concern include having access to municipal offices to access and file necessary documents to effect transactions.

Richard Haggerty, CEO of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, is a member of the BCW Westchester Economic Recovery Task Force. Other members hailing from the real estate sector include: Joseph Apicella, Macquesten Development; Bill Balter, Wilder Balter Partners; Greg Berger, Robert Martin Company; Peter Chavkin, Lighthouse Landing Communities; Neil DeLuca, Fareri Associates; John Fareri, Fareri Associates; Tim Foley, Builders Institute of Westchester; David Garten, RXR; Martin Ginsburg, Ginsburg Development; Larry Gottlieb, Robert Martin Company; Tim Jones, Robert Martin Company; Jeff Nelson, RXR; Kevin Plunkett, Simone Development Companies; Liz Pollack, Cross County Shopping Center; Joseph Simone, Simone Development Companies; Jim Surdoval, Ginsburg Development and Budd Wiesenberg, CBRE.

The report, which is the first of several to be prepared by the Task Force, is available online at thebcw.org