WHITE PLAINS, NY—Faced with an aging building stock and nopromise of new development, Westchester CRE professionals will callon developers and others in the industry at RealShare Westchesteron April 24 to court new population segments for both commercialand residential buildings and to consider adaptive re-usepossibilities.

|

On the commercial side, attention must be paid both to sectorsalready looking to come into the market as well as those thatappear poised for growth, according to the speakers at the upcomingconference.

|

“The future lies in the health technology sector because thesefirms are developing software and applications to move the medicalindustry forward and they have office space requirements,” saysMarissa Brett, executive director of economicdevelopment, the Westchester County Association.

|

Local CRE participants need to discuss this growing sector inorder to determine how to grow it, she adds. “It's about one-thirdof the county's inventory, so it's here, but no one is talkingabout it.”

|

“We need to start marketing to that sector; we haven't beendoing so because of limited resources,” declares Brett. “We alsoneed to make sure there's investment in our communities so that thebuilding inventory is attractive and we create the zoning needed tomake sure these types of tenants can come in.”

|

Numerous demographic trends have prompted a migration of themedical field to Westchester, adds Howard Greenberg, president,Howard Properties.

|

“In the past, medical and office never played well together,” hesays. “Doctors aren't credit tenants, doctors don't have hardassets, patients are coming in all day, etc. But then the officemarket got soft so anyone who could pay rent was attractive. At thesame time, we saw the advent of medical groups run by businesspeople. Now these groups of doctors are much bigger and may belooking for 50,000 square feet of space.”

|

Medical tenants have replaced Westchester's large officetenants, says Greenberg. “If you take IBM in it's heyday [which washeadquartered in Westchester's Purchase area], medical is now anindustry that needs these same spaces in large chunks. Plus we'regetting bio tech firms and startups so it's a broader group ofcompanies using the space.”

|

Medical tenants are good for the community on the whole,Greenberg contends. “There's real jobs in the medical field, likenurses, administrative staff, etc. The sector creates a lot ofhiring.”

|

But when all of those workers come in, developers need to bringattractive housing options to the table, notes Brett and KevinMcCarthy, VP, CBRE. In particular, the community needs to addressthe needs of the millennial generation, which previously was not anissue in Westchester.

|

“Now that the office demand has changed, developers cant justplop a multifamily building into the area and think it'll leaseup,” notes Brett. “Builders need to create projects close totransportation that have laboratory space, retail, pathways andtrails, access to fitness centers and more.”

|

Adds McCarthy, “The younger demographic wants to live withactivities around them. There needs to be a commitment to retailand to the repurposing of vacant office buildings or other space toinclude more social or active offerings.”

|

The impediment is the approval process, he says, “We're in theland of 'not-in-my-backyard.' When people hear 'affordable housing'they think that means Section 8 units, but we mean youngprofessional housing. If we can start educating officials inmunicipalities and even developers that there is an appetite foryoung professional housing, it would be a huge hurdle toovercome the stigma that Westchester does not cater to the nextgeneration.”

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Rayna Katz

Rayna Katz is a seasoned business journalist whose extensive experience includes coverage of the lodging sector, travel and the culinary space. She was most recently content director for a business-to-business publisher, overseeing four publications. While at Meeting News, a travel trade publication, she received a Best Reporting award for a story on meeting cancellations in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.