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WHITE PLAINS-A number of federal, state, county and City of White Plains dignitaries were on hand Monday to celebrate ITT Corp.’s 100,000-sf lease at 1133 Westchester Ave. here. The press conference was held at the new atrium of the 1133 Westchester Ave. building owned by RPW Group of White Plains.

ITT has been in lease discussions with RPW Group for months for the space at the 630,000-sf former IBM building. The 15-year lease deal was signed on Friday, Dec. 14. Cushman & Wakefield’s senior director Glenn Walsh represented RPW Group in the transaction, while EVP Bob Sheehy and senior director Steve Baker of C&W represented ITT.

“For more than 100 years, ITT and its businesses have been a bedrock of the New York economy,” Gov. Eliot Spitzer says in a prepared release. “The company’s decision to expand its headquarters in White Plains reaffirms its commitment to New York and sends a powerful signal about its faith in our efforts to improve the state’s business climate.”

Steve Loranger, ITT chairman, president and CEO, who did not attend the press conference due to a company board of directors meeting, issued a statement saying, “we are pleased to have found a new home for our world headquarters here in White Plains and to remain in New York. We’ve got a rich history in the state and owe a lot of our success to the very talented people who live and work here.”

ITT VP, director of corporate relations Angela Buonocore said at the press conference that the company employs approximately 4,000 workers statewide. With the new lease the company will retain its 119 HQ jobs and plans to add approximately 96 new positions in the next five years.

To secure the deal, New York State will be providing approximately $1 million in incentives, while the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency will be kicking in approximately $562,000 in sales tax exemptions. ITT’s current headquarters is at 4 West Red Oak Ln. in White Plains. The company had considered sites in Connecticut, New Jersey and Colorado before selecting 1133 Westchester Ave.

RPW Group president Robert Weisz said that the ITT deal brings the 1133 Westchester Ave. property to about 60% leased. ITT will join Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which occupies approximately 120,000 sf, and IBM, which maintains about 70,000 sf of space. “With what we have in the works we should be at 70% to 75% in the next few months,” he adds, noting that his firm expects the building to be fully leased before the end of 2008.

Weisz has received city approvals for a new 160-room hotel at the property and is currently talking with various franchises to determine which flag will fly. He expects to break ground on the $40-million project in late 2008 or spring 2009.

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