TARRYTOWN, N.Y. - Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has announced a $1.2 billion private investment that will be used to build a bioscience and technology complex in Valhalla.
Astorino unveiled a plan that includes a biotechnology research facility, medical offices, a children’s science center and supporting hotel, retail stores and restaurants on the Grasslands Reservation, at the Westchester County Association Breakfast on Thursday morning at the Westchester Marriott.
In total, the Westchester BioScience and Technology Center would be comprised of nearly 3 million-square-feet that would be developed on 20-acres of land owned by developer Fareri Associates, and 60-acres leased from the county at the North 60. The site, currently vacant, is adjacent to the Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical College.
It took nearly two years, but with a 99-year lease agreed upon with the developers, it now heads to the Westchester County Board of Legislators for approval. The project is also subject to complete approval by Mount Pleasant officials. If approved, Astorino said that the project would create approximately 8,000 permanent jobs and 4,000 temporary construction jobs.
“We hope they (the Board of Legislators) take their time to take a considered look at it,” Astorino said. “The plan matches our county demographic well. We’re highly educated here, and when our high school children go to college, they can come back and have a good job in the area.”
If approved, the plan would be implemented in three phases, beginning with a $40 million investment to completely overhaul and improve the infrastructure at the site. Once completed, it 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 also be a shuttle service to two nearby Metro-North stations.
“The development proposed for the North 60 property is an exciting an innovative plan that builds on Westchester’s fast-growing biotech and technology sectors, which are crucial to the economic vitality of our region,” Marsha Gordon, the president of the Business Council of Westchester, noted.
While many are excited about the ambitious proposal, it may be years, even a decade before the Westchester BioScience and Technology Center becomes a reality. According to Astorino, following two years debating the lease, the Board of Legislators now have to review it, followed by stakeholders in Mount Pleasant and a complete environmental impact study. He estimates the best case scenario to ascertain approval will be two years, followed by at least 18 months of infrastructure work before beginning phase two.
Despite the long timeline, Astorino noted that the project would be a step forward for the county as it continues to “grow smarter.”
“This strategic investment positions Westchester to grow smartly in the future,” he said. “It rates job 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 field of biotechnology and medical science.”
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