Developer Says Westchester Will Benefit From Pricey NYC Office Market
John Jordan | March 2016
WHITE PLAINS—Veteran real estate investor and developer Robert Weisz says Westchester County should benefit from the heady New York City office market in 2016.
Weisz, principal of the RPW Group of Rye Brook, hosted approximately 40 commercial brokers at a meeting of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ Commercial Investment Division at his 1133 Westchester Ave. office building on March 17.
“The expectations are that over the next 12 to 24 months we are going to have a lot of activity here,” Weisz said. “…Westchester is picking up more traffic. We are the low cost alternative for somebody who is looking to leave the (New York City) region for great quality space and a fantastic lifestyle.”
He added that for companies outside the region looking to locate in the suburbs, Westchester is the “best place to be” at a bargain as compared to other suburban locations and particularly to New York City. He estimated that in many prime locations in Manhattan, tenants are paying $70-$90-a-square-foot, while top office rents in Westchester are in the mid to high $30s-per-square-foot.
At present, Westchester’s chief weakness is the lack of Millennials that companies are looking to recruit. He said the key to attracting Millennials is to offer affordable housing in the downtown districts.
Weisz noted that there are approximately 5,000 new apartment units either under construction or in the pipeline in places like Yonkers, New Rochelle and White Plains, most geared to Millennials who Weisz quipped are “paying a fortune for a shoe box” in New York City.
He said that Westchester is beginning to solve the problem of the dearth of Millennials and commercial property owners can now point to the new development projects as a viable source for companies to attract this sough-after demographic.
Weisz said that the economic benefits these new project will create include additional retail sales and tax revenues to municipalities, the county and the state.
He said the combination of Westchester’s strong economic foundation, along with the new residential and mixed-use development projects, make “Westchester’s future as bright as it ever has been.”
Weisz who redeveloped the former Phillip Morris facility at 800 Westchester Ave., and the former IBM and Starwood Hotels facility at 1133 Westchester Ave., into highly successful multi-tenant buildings, believes that the high prices for commercial office space is already spurring some New York City companies to look at Westchester as a less costly alternative for leasing space and investment.
Recently, the Hospital for Special Surgery announced it had leased 50,000 square feet of space and plans to build a 50,000-square-foot lease at the more than 600,000-square-foot 1133 Westchester Ave. office building for an outpatient center. Construction on the center is scheduled to begin in September 2016 with an anticipated opening sometime in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Some of the growth sectors in the Westchester economy include: health care, biotech, professional services (lawyers, accountants), as well as private investment banking service firms, he noted.
The next meeting of HGAR’s Commercial Investment Division will be held on Thursday, April 14th at the new headquarters of the association at One Maple Ave. (the Source at White Plains) and will begin at 10 a.m. The free event, which will begin with networking at 9:30 a.m., will feature the top economic development officials from Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties who will discuss the latest developments in their respective counties. For further information call Leah Warncke at (914) 681-0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From left, HGAR CEO Richard Haggerty, HGAR President Marcene Hedayati, CID speaker Robert Weisz and CID President John Barrett. PHOTOS BY JOHN VECCHIOLLA