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WHITE PLAINS-More than $500,000 in sales and mortgage tax exemptions were approved by the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency on Thursday Dec. 7 for Cognet Corp. and Allied Irish Bank of New York, which are both seeking to lease space at the former Kraft/General Foods building at 333 Westchester Ave. here.

The IDA deal with Cognet Corp., a software management company based in Valhalla, involves $320,850 in sales-tax exemptions earmarked for necessary upgrades to its offices at 333 Westchester Ave. County officials say Cognet plans to relocate from its Columbus Ave., offices to approximately 28,000 sf at the former Kraft building. The building is owned by Cohen Brothers Realty Corp. of New York City.

The lease deal has not been finalized as yet, but county officials estimate the move from Valhalla to White Plains would cost Cognet approximately $5 million. The company expects to double its 65-employee work force over the next few years.

Commenting on the IDA approval, Cognet Controller Debra Case says, “We’re committed to becoming a major force in the technology industry and strengthening our presence here in Westchester. We believe this commitment will help attract qualified professionals, encourage investment and stimulate high-tech innovation in Westchester County.”

In addition, the IDA approved a $197,786 sales tax exemption for Allied Irish Bank of New York, which plans to create a 29,000-sf office at 333 Westchester Ave. for its domestic e-banking operations. The company would add 100 jobs next year and 100 more by 2006. That lease deal was finalized recently between the tenant and Cohen Brothers.

The company is one of a growing number of smaller technology firms to apply for IDA benefits over the past year, according to IDA chairman William Mulrow. The county’s strategy has been to encourage small and medium-sized businesses seeking to expand or relocate through its Office of Economic Development and Westchester Information Technology Cluster, a non-profit organization that focuses specifically on the information technology industry, he says.

Salvatore J. Carrera, director of the county’s Office of Economic Development adds, “These companies bring in high-paying jobs and fill up vacant office space. “They’re making a significant difference in our efforts to drive down vacancy rates.”

The Westchester County IDA also reports that Tots & Toddlers in Armonk received approval for $198,250 in sales and mortgage tax exemptions to construct a new 23,000-sf child care facility at 15-17 Old Post Rd. in Armonk.

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