In a move cementing Westchester County as a leader in the growing bio-tech field, County Executive George Latimer and Fareri Associates President John Fareri officially signed the 99-year lease of the North 60 property on the dais during the County Executive’s address at the Westchester County Association Breakfast.
Latimer said: “As I learned in my business life, there is a risk for everything, things don’t always turn out as you plan, but if you don’t take risk – prudent risk – you don’t succeed. In this case, the 60 acres here will be a bio-tech center that can attract people to our area where they will see Westchester as a central place.”
Fareri said: “At long last, we can move forward with what we are confident will be a major economic engine for Westchester County and the region. The concept for The North 60 has been in the works for a decade, and now we are ready to see our vision come to life. Over the next several months, we will be preparing the necessary documents to commence the environmental review by the Town of Mount Pleasant. We appreciate the efforts of County Executive George Latimer and his administration in advancing this innovative and important project.”
North 60 comprises of 60 acres of undeveloped land in Valhalla on the Grasslands Reservation. The deal with the County calls for Fareri, a developer who was instrumental in creating the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, and Fareri Associates to develop an innovative hub with a focus on biotech and medical technology research and development – a rapidly expanding field – together with retail and hotel space.
While this project passed the Board of Legislators unanimously in 2017, the lease remained unsigned by the Executive branch upon the commencement of the Latimer Administration. While the Latimer Administration was doing its due diligence and reviewing the terms and conditions of the lease, the developer proposed adding new uses of the property which were not previously included in the lease, including residential use, arts and cultural use. This amendment to the terms of the lease would have required further Board of Legislators’ approval. After further discussions with the Latimer Administration, and in an effort to get to work on this forward-thinking economic development project, the developer agreed to withdraw these proposed uses.
Westchester County Association President & CEO William M. Mooney, Jr. said: “It is clear that the County Executive and the Board of Legislators have made economic development a priority. This project will go a long way to solidifying our region’s brand as a hub of innovation in healthcare and life sciences. The WCA has long supported the development of the North 60 as a means to bring together academia, healthcare, life sciences and technology. It will provide meaningful opportunities for economic development, innovation and collaboration. I commend John Fareri for his vision, perseverance and passion for healthcare and life sciences in our region.”
Latimer continued: “I must compliment John and Fareri Associates for their diligent work on this – we had numerous meetings ensuring we were making the best deal for the taxpayer and now we are partners moving forward.”
Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins said: “I was pleased to have endorsed this project as a County Legislator and am even more pleased to see it come to fruition. This is a project that sends a message that Westchester County is a true leader in life-science and bio-tech.”
Westchester County Director of Operations Joan McDonald said: “The North 60 project is a significant investment and commitment by Westchester County in the bio-science sector. We are excited to be partnering with Fareri Associates on this project.”
President of Pace University Marvin Krislov said: “Pace University knows how important it is to encourage scientific innovation in Westchester, bolster the local economy, and provide internships, research opportunities, and jobs for our ambitious students and alumni. We’re thrilled by today’s announcement that the County will be moving forward with the Westchester BioScience and Technology Center.”
The 99-year lease provides for the development of the property in accordance with a Master Development Plan in phases:
- The first phase requires the developer to create 220,000 square feet devoted to biotech and medical technology use, 100,000 square feet in medical office space, 80,000 square feet in retail space and a hotel with 120 rooms and conference facilities;
- Subsequent phases will be developed in stages after the first phase is complete. In the event subsequent phases aren’t completed, the area subject to the phase can excluded from the lease;
- The developer will provide the infrastructure needed to serve the development which includes streets, water, sewer, electricity and other utilities;
- The County will initially receive $125,000 per year in rent and then 6 percent of annual gross rental income from the above uses except 6% of annual gross income from the hotel, any assisted living facility and 6% for the other uses, and finally;
- The development will be subject to Town of Mount Pleasant zoning regulations and planning board approvals, County leased land standards and SEQUR review.
Watch the full News Conference HERE.