• Yonkers City Showcase Yields Some Surprises


  • A Multitude of Development Opportunities Apparent in Westchester's Largest City

  • More than 150 real estate developers, brokers, investors, and dignitaries packed three tour buses Wednesday for the third City Showcase, organized by the BLUEPRINT for Westchester, the most aggressive economic development initiative in Westchester County today. Yonkers took center stage as....

    ...a three-bus convoy, complete with police escort, toured development opportunities in Westchester County's largest city.
    "I believe in Yonkers," said Mayor Mike Spano during breakfast networking at Showcase Cinema de Lux, located at Ridge Hill, one of Westchester's newest upscale malls, where the day's proceedings began. "That's the message we want to give you. There are great opportunities here. We're a regional destination and a regional retail capital."
    Guests boarded the buses just outside Ridge Hill's new Legoland -- the first in the northeast, where Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick made the point that national retailers at Ridge Hill are seeing strong results.
    After touring several neighborhoods and viewing many development opportunities, guests were treated to a special reception at Empire City Casino where everyone got a sneak peak of their forthcoming master plan, and downed locally brewed beer, accompanied by imaginative and tasty hors d'oeuvres. Empire City is the nation's most successful casino in its class and pumps $20 million in revenues annually that are used to support the Yonkers school system, and an additional $300 million for New York State's coffers. 
    Many commented that they were surprised by the size and resources of the city. Located in Yonkers are Consumer Reports headquarters (with 524 employees), Sarah Lawrence College (the address may be Bronxville, but the city is Yonkers!), Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, Dunwoodie Golf Course, Hudson River Museum, soon-to-be IAC Search, Inc. (a truly hot tech company), a film studio, yacht clubs, historic buildings, some gritty neighborhoods, and lots more.
    On Alexander Street, the tour came upon the city's former jailhouse which is up for redevelopment. Council President Lesnick says an RFP will be issued shortly for the property.  An additional 220 units will be built at Hudson Park on the waterfront, a few blocks away from the old jailhouse.  

    Parts of downtown Yonkers have been repurposed and reinvented, and are leading the way for further development along the waterfront area. Staples like Chef Peter Kelly's X2O and the Science Barge enhance the area. The mayor  noted that funds from the Empire State Development Corporation enabled the city to daylight the Saw Mill River, creating a gorgeous plaza and waterfall, stretching from Getty Square to the Yonkers train station.  
    Lunch was served at Brio Tuscan Grille, where Mayor Spano, Marissa Brett, WCA's executive director for Economic Development, and other spoke.
    The big takeaways of the day: Yonkers is eager to attract investment and is thinking big.  The city has plans for each of its sectors and development opportunities abound.
    "Yonkers has a clear focused plan for economic development," noted Bill Harrington, chairman of the Westchester County Association, Westchester's preeminent business organization. The BLUEPRINT for Westchester is its brainchild.  

    Stay tuned...

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