North60-webJanuary 7, 2016 - In a far-reaching initiative to strengthen Westchester County as a major innovation hub, County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced a $1.2 billion private investment today to build a bioscience and technology complex on a vacant site owned by the county in Valhalla adjacent to the Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical College.

Called the Westchester BioScience & Technology Center, the nearly 3 million-square-foot, mixed-use complex on 80 acres would be developed by Fareri Associates, a premier developer in Westchester and Fairfield counties with more than 40 years of experience.

Fareri Associates would develop the complex on 20 acres it owns and on an adjacent 60 acres owned by the county, known as the North 60 on the Grasslands Reservation, which it would rent from the county under a long-term lease. The lease now goes to the Westchester County Board of Legislators for approval. The project is also subject to approvals by the Town of Mount Pleasant.

The development comprises three major, multi-phase components: West Research Village, Central Village and East Research Village. Fully built out, the new center would include 2,252,600 square feet of biotech/research space; 400,000 square feet of medical offices; a 100,000-square-foot hotel with 100 rooms; 114,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, and a 34,000-square-foot Children's Living Science Center.

The first phase of the project will include 220,000 square feet of biotech/research space, 100,000 square feet of medical space, 80,000 square feet of shopping/ground-level retail space, and a 100,000-square-foot hotel for a total of 500,000 square feet.

"This strategic investment positions Westchester to grow smartly in the future," said Astorino. "It creates jobs that play to the strength of the county's highly skilled and educated workforce. It expands our tax base. It respects the environment by employing the latest green technologies and leaving half the property as open space. And it expands the county's growing leadership in the fields of bio-technology and medical science."

John Fareri, president of Fareri Associates, said: "We look forward to working together with the county in developing this unique and exciting BioScience & Technology Center that will create thousands of new construction and permanent jobs, while positioning Westchester County at the forefront of the region's emerging new economies."

The plan will incorporate many sustainable features, such as green roofs, demonstration gardens, preservation and improvement of on-site wetlands, bio-swales and rain gardens, interpretive trails and preserving and improving forest land on site. Approximately 54% of the property—or 43.6 acres—will be preserved as open green space.

In what will be a feature unique to this region, the complex will include a Children's Living Science Center designed to promote the improvement of the health of children in the region through dynamic and interactive educational programming.

Fareri Associates will make an estimated investment of $40 million in the site's infrastructure, including improvements to the road network, water supply and service, sanitary waste system and storm water management.

The benefits that the $1.2 billion Westchester BioScience & Technology Center offers to the community include:

  • $9 million in estimated new real estate taxes annually to Westchester County, the Town of Mount Pleasant and the Mount Pleasant School District (there is no residential component, so the complex will not have any impact on the class sizes of local schools);
  • $7 million in estimated new annual rent to Westchester County;
  • Approximately 4,000 new construction jobs;
  • More than 8,000 new permanent jobs from entry-level through the professional ranks;
  • Forging relationships between the Westchester Medical Center and providers and inventors of cutting-edge medical technologies and innovations;
  • Creating job opportunities for students in the emerging bioscience field by forming partnerships with nearby Westchester Community College, Pace University and New York Medical College;
  • Creating a new Children's Living Science Center that will provide children with a personal awareness of health issues.

The project received strong support from business leaders.

William Mooney Jr., president and CEO of the Westchester County Association (WCA), said the proposed development clearly reinforces Westchester's position as a global leader and a hub of innovation in the life sciences industry.

"This is a sector that the WCA has fostered over the years," Mooney said. "This project will add to and complement the many world-class organizations, such as the Westchester Medical Center, NY Presbyterian, Montefiore, Northwell Health, New York Medical College, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Regeneron that already call Westchester home. We applaud the County Executive for the foresight and collaborative approach on this important project and the Westchester County Association looks forward to supporting this important public- private partnership."

Marsha Gordon, the president of the Business Council of Westchester, added: "The development proposed for the North 60 property by Fareri Associates is an exciting and innovative plan that builds on Westchester's fast-growing biotech and technology sectors, which are crucial to the economic vitality of our region. For many years the Business Council of Westchester has supported a public-private approach to developing this strategically important property. We commend the County Executive and Fareri Associates for their leadership and vision in moving forward with this important economic development initiative."

Fareri Associates has more than $1.5 billion and over 5 million square feet of real estate completed, owned or under development. The company's projects in Westchester include 19 Bradhurst Avenue in Valhalla, a 220,000-square-foot medical office building leased to the Westchester Medical Center and 3030 Westchester Avenue in Purchase, an 85,000-square-foot medical leased to WESTMED Medical Group. John Fareri is founder of the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at the Westchester Medical Center.

The Westchester Bioscience & Technology Center will be designed to create a strong sense of place with a pedestrian friendly Main Street lined with shops and restaurants with outdoor dining and landscaped plazas as gathering places for those who work at the center as well as the general public. One of the plazas will overlook a pond and gardens with terraced seating for public performances and locations for public art.

The complex will be a walkable and interconnected community with sidewalks, paved multi-use paths, pedestrian bridges and bikeways connected to a regional bike network. There will be a shuttle service to nearby Metro North stations. The architect for the Westchester BioScience & Technology Center is Torti Gallas & Partners, an award-winning architectural firm with more than 60 years of experience with projects in 36 states and 15 countries. Its biotech/R&D projects include Life-Sci Village in White Oak, MD and The Parks at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C.