WHITE PLAINS-William Cuddy, managing director with Insignia/ESG’s Westchester/Connecticut office, believes that if an economic downturn does take place, Westchester County’s lower office rental costs could prove attractive to some New York City corporations.

Cuddy, who appeared at the Dec. 14 meeting of the Westchester County Board of Realtors’ Commercial Investment Division, related, “As we look at next year on a macro basis, we have to look at the dynamics of our market as it compares to New York City because it is going to bode very well for this county if the market continues on an upswing, but particularly if it goes on a downswing.”

He continued that due to the prolonged robust economic times, major corporations have mainly been focused on the profit side of the business. Cuddy noted that if a downturn were to take place, companies would undertake a “re-orientation” on the expense side, which would include a hard look at its New York City office costs.

“When companies start to focus more on the expense side in a downside market, the Westchester market will be very well poised to capture more tenancies out of Manhattan given that the Manhattan market is at $50 to $75 per sf), and we are still $25 to $30,” he said.

Christopher O’Callaghan, a principal of McCarthy O’Callaghan Co., of White Plains, told the attendees at the session that Westchester is currently showing some signs of a slight slow down, but Fairfield County continues to be a very strong market.He cited the recent move of Webhouse Club, a licensee of Priceline.com, out of approximately 150,000 sf of space in October at the Greenwich American Centre as an example of just how strong the Fairfield market is.

“The 150,000 sf that they leased at Greenwich American Centre has since been absorbed by other tenants, smaller, finance companies, marketing companies, which I think points to a sign of the health of the market,” O’Callaghan said.

Martin Deitch, a principal of Aries, Deitch & Endelson Inc. of Hartsdale, covered the retail market in the Westchester-Fairfield area and noting, “Vacancies, there aren’t any, and if they come up they are leased quickly.”

He estimated that rental rates for retail properties range from $45 to $50 per sf on the highly trafficked Central Avenue market from White Plains to Yonkers; $95 per sf in Greenwich CT, and $100 to $105 per sf in Westport, CT.

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