Westchester One Finds Success in Challenging Market
21 Apr, 2010, New York
Westchester One, a 21-story office tower located in downtown White Plains owned by an affiliate of Beacon Capital Partners, LLC, has announced the building's first lease for 2010 as a sign of true absorption in the Westchester County submarket: Avon Products, Inc. has leased 22,000-square-feet for a new user group to occupy a portion of the second floor.
The lease to Avon underscores how, despite a challenging year for Westchester County and the commercial real estate market, Westchester One has continued to define success in the Westchester office market. During the last six months alone, the Cushman & Wakefield leasing team completed more than 300,000 square feet of transactions in the 852,000-square-foot office building and accounted for more than 70 percent of all 2009 class-A leasing activity in Downtown White Plains. The transactions included: Reader's Digest's 142,730-square-foot lease, Malcolm Pirnie's commitment for 86,894 square feet, Towers Watson's 44,713-square-foot lease and Rail Europe's 26,359-square-foot extension.
Since being appointed as Westchester One's exclusive leasing agent by the owner in 2006, the Cushman & Wakefield leasing team has arranged more than 656,000 square feet of transactions. Among the most noteworthy were two firms that relocated from Manhattan to Westchester. Disney Publishing Worldwide relocated its global headquarters and 175 of its employees to the ninth and tenth floors of Westchester One in 2007. Also in 2007, Loews Corporation relocated its administrative operations from Manhattan to Westchester One. Additionally, Manhattan-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore, which had first leased space in Westchester One in 2002, expanded in the building, taking the entire eighth floor of 44,000 square feet in 2007.
"Westchester One has flourished in spite of the economic environment," said Josh Kuriloff, a vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield, who heads the building's leasing team with Cushman & Wakefield Senior Director Greg Frisoli and Senior Managing Director of Strategic Agency Services Diana Biasotti. "Beacon Capital's long-term vision for this property has allowed it to be flexible and responsive to the changing market conditions. With our initial strategy, we targeted tenants seeking a reprieve from Manhattan's steadily increasing rental rates. When the market began its downturn, we had to shift our strategy to draw on tenants in the region who were looking to move from the suburbs to a central business district. Regardless of the market, we positioned Westchester One based on what tenants in the market required."
Mr. Frisoli stated: "Beacon Capital's commitment to delivering a first-class office building has allowed us to attract the right tenants to Westchester One. We recently executed a multi-million renovation, complete with a new lobby and new systems, and have been awarded with an Energy Star certification for our sustainability efforts. These recent deals reveal a flight to quality in the Westchester office market."
Built in 1975, Westchester One is the largest office tower in downtown White Plains. The class-A property is surrounded by three high-end malls (including The Westchester), major hotel chains (including a new Ritz Carlton), and a multitude of restaurants, entertainment venues and upscale residential developments. Westchester One is located just 35 minutes by express commuter rail from Midtown Manhattan, and offers spectacular views of Downtown White Plains, the Long Island Sound and the Manhattan skyline.
Westchester One's $13 million capital improvement program included renovations to the lobby, restrooms, cafeteria, elevator cabs, walkways and exterior landscape. Building systems were modernized, a supplemental cooling tower with double capacity was installed and upgraded electronic security and life safety features were added. A shuttle service to the White Plans Metro North train station was introduced, as well as hands-free transponder access to the building's parking garages. These programs resulted in BOMA awards for "Best Renovated Building" (2008) and "Comeback Building of the Year" (2009).