As the economy reopens, Westchester is poised to become an attractive destination for businesses and residents wishing to remain close to New York City but with a less dense urban environment. As the pandemic reshapes the commercial landscape, our region may experience changes in occupancy and use trends in the office, retail, hospitality, research and development, and industrial sectors. We should continue to encourage suburban clusters (comprising attractive office space close to retail and lifestyle amenities) through proper development incentives and zoning modifications.
The county cannot attract and retain businesses without accessible and affordable housing and our essential workforce currently is underserved. Furthermore, in and of itself, the creation of new housing is a well-documented economic stimulant. It increases the population, expands the labor force, improves wages, enhances GDP and should be accretive to the tax rolls. Housing development is a major economic engine in the region.
In the residential real estate subsector, unique structural issues that predated the pandemic remain -- and none is more important than affordable housing. A 2019 Westchester County government Affordable Housing Needs Assessment concluded that Westchester needs approximately 11,700 units of affordable housing and it set forth a series of recommendations.