Rockland County Business Journal https://rcbizjournal.com Covering Rockland Business 24/7 Thu, 17 Jun 2021 15:45:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.8 https://rcbizjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/cropped-Favicon-32x32.png Rockland County Business Journal https://rcbizjournal.com 32 32 Pfizer’s Kathrin Jansen To Deliver Commencement Address At Dominican College; Zebrowski Sponsors ‘Dark Store’ Bill, Briefs https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/17/pfizers-kathrin-jansen-to-deliver-commencement-address-at-dominican-college-zebrowski-sponsors-dark-store-bill-briefs/ Thu, 17 Jun 2021 15:43:41 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6443 Pfizer's Kathrin Jansen To Deliver Commencement Address At Dominican College, Zebrowski Co-Sponsors Dark Store Bill To Prevent Sharp Reduction In Tax Assessments, briefs

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Pfizer’s Kathrin Jansen To Deliver Commencement Address At Dominican College

Kathrin U. Jansen, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Head of Vaccine Research and Development, Pfizer Inc., will deliver the commencement address virtually at the 67th Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony at Dominican College on Sunday, June 27. The ceremony will take place at the Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona, NY, at noon.

During the ceremony, Dr. Jansen will be awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

jansenDr. Jansen was the driving force behind the development of the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency use authorization for use in individuals 16 years of age and older from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Pfizer vaccine, which uses mRNA technology, was developed in record-breaking time and is currently the only vaccine also approved for emergency use in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age.

The mission to develop a vaccine was deeply personal to Dr. Jansen who lives in New York City and saw refrigerated truck morgues being used in hospital parking lots during the first terrifying wave of the pandemic. Beginning in March of 2020, when Pfizer partnered with the German company BioNTech to develop a vaccine, Dr. Jansen was relentless in her pursuit of a vaccine to help end the most devastating pandemic in more than 100 years. She worked tirelessly, leading her 700-person team with the support of thousands of other Pfizer colleagues focused on developing a high-quality, safe vaccine as quickly as possible.

Jansen has also developed vaccines to fight the HPV virus and pneumonia, and has earned a reputation as a calm, fearless, knowledgeable professional who has dedicated her life’s work to the research and development of vaccines to prevent infectious diseases.

Dominican College will confer upon Dr. Jansen the honorary degree of Doctor of Science in recognition of her remarkable contributions to the development of life-saving vaccines, her unwavering determination to help end a pandemic that has claimed more than 600,000 U.S. lives, and her steadfast devotion to science and data.


Zebrowski Co-Sponsors Dark Store Bill To Prevent Sharp Reduction In Tax Assessments

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland) and Senator James Gaughran (D-Long Island) have introduced a “dark store” bill that establishes clear and unambiguous guidelines for assessors to utilize when formulating assessments. (A894C/S5715A). The bill has passed the full legislature.

zebrowskiThe Zebrowski/Gaughran bill is in response to the proliferation of the use of the “dark store” strategy by businesses, particularly big box retailers in New York State. Commercial property owners challenge their tax assessment by using vacant stores or properties as comparable values; arguing their value should be aligned with properties that are not in use. This approach has succeeded in several court challenges throughout the state, resulting in a sharp reduction in tax assessments for big box retailers; shifting the tax burden to homeowners and small businesses.

The legislation would require that properties selected as comparable properties for an assessment must be similar in use, size, location and other characteristics. These standards are currently used by assessors in formulating assessments and by placing them in law, will provide guidance for courts evaluating competing assessments.

“When big corporations skirt their taxes through high paid attorneys, homeowners and small businesses foot the bill. The dark store theory threatens our tax base by allowing big businesses to exploit the assessment challenge process by comparing the current use of a business to vacant properties. The argument that vibrant businesses should be valued as if they are closed is incomprehensible. Our legislation puts into law guidelines and standards by which assessments should be based; providing courts with common sense direction in valuing properties,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski.

If signed into law, the bill would take effect immediately and apply to assessment rolls prepared on and after January 1, 2022.


Volkswagen of Nanuet Opens Dealership On Route 59

volkswagenVolkswagen of Nanuet has opened a car dealership on Route 59, adding to a corridor that is filled with several car dealerships. The new showroom and service department, located at Route 59 and Hutton Avenue, was the former site of Bob’s Discount Furniture. “Route 59 is known as the ‘car dealership’ corridor,” said Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann, at the ribbon cutting. “This is a most welcome addition for the many people who travel here from around the region to purchase a vehicle.”

VW dealership’s owner, Bob Erickson, said the $3 million project took longer than expected due to the pandemic. The dealership opened with food, music, face painting and an opportunity to see some vintage Beetles, along with 2021 models on the new dealership’s showroom floor.

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Rockland Should Consider Public-Private Partnerships To Create Short-Term Rental Housing https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/17/rockland-should-consider-public-private-partnerships-to-create-short-term-rental-housing/ Thu, 17 Jun 2021 15:35:23 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6449 Rockland residents who are selling, or who might like to, may be stymied because prices elsewhere are competitive and they need a short-term rental solution, which is lacking in the county.

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Sellers Want To Cash In But They Are Stuck; Need Interim Housing Solutions

By Judith Bachman

The housing market has never been hotter. Thank the pandemic for that, as scores of urbanites flee to the suburbs in search of more space and safer environs, in COVID terms. And though we are emerging from the darkest of days, with 70 percent of New Yorkers being vaccinated, the housing market continues to pulse.

judith bachmanBut there’s a downside to this buying frenzy: Rockland residents who are selling, or who might like to, may be stymied because prices elsewhere are competitive and they need a short-term rental solution, which is lacking in the county.

Housing prices have risen significantly, and inventory has fallen. The median sales price of single-family houses in Rockland County from Q1 2020 to Q1 of 2021 rose from $459,000 to $523,000.  At the same time, new single-family listings are down more than 14 percent from a year ago.

According to realtor Valerie Moldow of Howard Hanna Rand Realty these market conditions are not ideal for some Rockland County residents.  “Sellers are stuck. There is a market imbalance; if you are selling what alternative to do you have as to where to move to,” said Moldow.  She pointed out that sellers too often are being priced out of other homes in the county or beaten out by newcomers bringing cash offers.

Moldow, known as “Your Forever Realtor,” has long advocated for the development of a stock of short-term rental housing in the county and never could the timing be better. There is a gap in the market that needs immediate attention.  Moldow points out that there are currently only 61 available units for rent right now.

While the rental business is usually left to the for-profit sector, Moldow wants municipalities and developers to cooperate in the development of short-term rental housing. She sees a golden opportunity to repurpose vacant commercial and retail space into short-term rentals.  For instance, could the vacant space in the Shops at Nanuet could be built out into residential rental units?

Moldow’s desire for rental development fits with Clarkstown’s vision laid out in its updated Comprehensive Plan. The plan recognizes that “vacancies are increasing in many larger, traditionally designed malls and retail centers. As such the town must begin focusing on flexible options for the use of these spaces. Coupled with the need for a more diverse range of housing options, examining zoning changes that would permit housing in certain traditionally commercial areas should be considered.”

The Comprehensive Plan also highlights the Transit Oriented Development (TOD), which relies on a vision to build housing and retail density around the Nanuet train station.

A public-private partnership focused on short-term rental housing could solve a myriad of problems. Sellers who are stuck could sell but remain in the county until they figure out their next move. The scheme would free up inventory. For municipalities, it would stimulate new residential development and bring life to vacant commercial spaces.

Judith Bachman is the founder and principal of The Bachman Law Firm PLLC in New City. judith@thebachmanlawfirm.com 845-639-3210, thebachmanlawfirm.com 

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Jeremy Schulman Resigns County Post; Lucy Redzeposki Returns On Interim Basis https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/16/jeremy-schulman-resigns-county-post-lucy-redzeposki-returns-on-interim-basis/ Wed, 16 Jun 2021 21:51:36 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6453 Jeremy Schulman, Rockland County’s Economic Development and Tourism director since June 2019, has resigned. He left the post last week and has been replaced on an interim basis by Lucy Redzeposki, who was Schulman’s predecessor.

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Director Of Economic Development & Tourism Leaves For “Personal Reasons” Says County Executive Ed Day

By Tina Traster

Jeremy Schulman, Rockland County’s Economic Development and Tourism director since June 2019, has resigned. He left the post last week and has been replaced on an interim basis by Lucy Redzeposki, who was Schulman’s predecessor.

County Executive Ed Day said Schulman left for “personal reasons.”

The county executive said Redzeposki would take the job on a “transitional basis,” and that she is already on the job.

“We wanted to hit the ground running,” said Day. “Lucy’s is coming back to help but we will be doing a search for a replacement.”

Schulman, who spent two years heading up the Rockland Economic Development Corporation, which is now defunct, stepped into the long shadow of Redzeposki, who the county executive frequently hailed as a tour de force because of her energy and effervescent personality. Schulman, in contrast, is a demure and quiet man who has worked in government for most of his career.

His salary in 2019 was $110,377.

From 1994 to 1999, Schulman cut his teeth interning in Rockland County’s planning department before spending 17 years as a planner and development manager for New Rochelle. He crossed the bridge in 2017 to head up the REDC.

REDC was folded into the Office of Economic Development and Tourism.

Schulman has a Masters in hospitality, tourism and sports management from New York University’s Tisch School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University.

He once told RCBJ that becoming director of economic development and tourism was a dream job, a pinnacle in his career. County officials did not put out official notice on his departure.

Calls to Schulman’s home were not returned.

Reached by cell, Redzeposki referred inquiry about her return to the county executive’s office.

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Rockland County Home Sales Soar; Median Price In May Rises 13 Percent Over Last Year https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/16/rockland-county-home-sales-soar-median-price-in-may-rises-13-percent-over-last-year/ Wed, 16 Jun 2021 17:38:51 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6435 The real estate market for single-family homes in the Hudson Valley area is still afire even though New York vaccination rates have risen to 70 percent, commuters are commuting again, and life is turning back to normal.

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82 Percent Of Homeowners Who Sold In Last Six Months Accepted Offers At Listing Price, According To National Study

REAL ESTATE NEWS

The real estate market for single-family homes in the Hudson Valley area is still afire even though New York vaccination rates have risen to 70 percent, commuters are commuting again, and life is turning back to normal.

From May 2020 to May this year, the median sales price and the number of single-family homes sold are up by as much as 50 percent in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Sullivan counties, according to the real estate trade group Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR).

HGAR also reported the median sale price in all six counties it covers – Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Sullivan and Orange – is higher than it has been in a decade. The market is hot because city dwellers continue to migrate to the suburbs, eager to escape the confines of tight living quarters and less in need of commuting to city offices. Many are in search of second homes, even in the lower Hudson Valley.

The median sale price (the point that indicates the exact middle of the market) of single-family homes in May in Rockland County increased by 13 percent to $525,000 from $463,750 last May.

Total single-family homes sold in Rockland County to date this year increased 46 percent to 975 from 666 over the same period last year.

Total single-family homes sales in Westchester County from May 2020 to the end of May this year increased 28 percent to 7,352. The median sale price in the county increased by double digits during the same period to $755,000 and reached $810,000 for the month of May alone.

Meanwhile, the average number of days from when a buyer makes an offer to closing on a home decreased by as much as 40 percent.

hgarThe strong showing by the single-family home market follows a first quarter of 2021 that exceeded expectations among brokers.

The current housing market is paying hefty dividends for sellers, prompting many homeowners to put their homes up for sale sooner than planned to take advantage of market conditions.

A homes.com nationwide survey found that 82 percent of homeowners who sold in the last six months accepted offers at listing price (33 percent) or above (49 percent), nearly half of them sold in less than a month, and a quarter of them had five or fewer showings before finding a buyer — reflecting both the low supply of available homes and the rush to buy when new listings hit the market.

The survey also found a strong correlation between the number of showings sellers’ homes had, and the number of offers they received. A third of sellers said they sold their homes within the first five offers received, and nearly two-thirds wound up selling within the first 10. This roughly correlates to the number of showings, indicating that sellers received bids after virtually every walkthrough.

When sellers were asked how long their homes were listed before they sold, 22 percent said the process took less than two weeks, 25 percent were on the market between two and four weeks, and 27 percent for between one and two months. In other words, only less than a third of sellers’ listings were on the market for longer than two months.

While homebuyers during the pandemic largely coveted single-family homes in the northern suburbs of New York City, the condominium and co-op markets have been comparatively softer in Westchester and a whole other story in the rest of the Lower Hudson Valley.

A total of 670 condos sold in Rockland County in the last 12 months, according to HGAR, while 199, 243, 535 and four condominiums sold in Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Sullivan counties, respectively.

HGAR reported only one co-op unit sold in both Putnam and Sullivan counties in the last 12 months, while total co-op sales in Rockland (83), and Dutchess (30) are up by 2.5 percent and 58 percent respectively.

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Nyack Is The Great Phoenix Rising Once Again https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/15/nyack-is-the-great-phoenix-rising-once-again/ Tue, 15 Jun 2021 18:26:47 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6421 In what appears to be an epic resurrection, new tenants are opening along Main Street and Broadway in Nyack, pumping energy and hope into a village that should never be underestimated.

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More Than A Dozen Debut Vendors Are Breathing New Life Into The Hudson River Village

By Tina Traster

At the height of the pandemic, store after store darkened in Nyack’s business district, particularly those in the food and hospitality business. Now, in what appears to be an epic resurrection, new tenants are opening along Main Street and Broadway, pumping energy and hope into a village that should never be underestimated.

More than a dozen debut vendors have or are in the process of breathing new life into Rockland’s Hudson River village. What’s notable is the diversity of these enterprises – not only restaurants and bars but a new boutique catering to the outdoor lifestyle, a gaming shop, a co-working space, an atelier, a karaoke bar.

“Together we have gotten word out that the village is a safe haven,” said Hammond.

Many in the business community credit Nyack’s mayor Don Hammond for initiating the new Business Council, which brought together the business community to strengthen the vitality, accessibility, and creativity of the village’s economic engines. Like many villages and towns in the Hudson Valley and beyond, Nyack maximized its assets, emphasizing the village’s walkability and functionality during the pandemic with street events, outdoor dining, and traffic closures to create a communal feeling, street-fair atmosphere, to draw people from both near and far.

Marcella Mazzeo opened the Salonniere Coffee Bar on South Broadway in Oct. 2019. Everything was looking rosy until COVID-19 threw its horrid curveball. Mazzeo, along with neighboring women-owned businesses like Abigail Rose & Lily Too, formed Nyack Merchants United to drive traffic and increase visibility.

nyack“The planning of the Nyack Masquerade was a game-changer,” said Mazzeo, referring to an event that was meant to create some fun for Halloween in place of the village’s iconic annual parade. “It wasn’t that it drew that many people, understandably, but it helped us understand what it meant to unite, to put our heads together.” From there, events like the Nyack Wanderland and the Spring Promenade/Spring Fling built momentum for the village and its vendors.

When it came to Spring Promenade, vendor selection was limited to local businesses.

“By not having external vendors, we removed the competition, which created a good solution for that moment, but might even be a solution for street fairs down the road,” said Mazzeo. “We’ve learned lessons about keeping it local. We’ve learned that you don’t have to bring in external people to get the crowds. There’s power in the business community.”

Nyack, already a “foodie” town, will add to its roster Big Jerk Caribbean Restaurant & Ice Cream and Nyack Grill on Main Street. Farina’s Café, Mekong District, My Father’s House, Flights & Pints, Woolworth Nyack Smokehouse Sports Bar & Brewery, and the social media savvy Breakfast & Burger Bar all opened during the pandemic. New boutiques include Hope Wade Designs and Modern Druid.nyack

“The village over the decades has always bounced back from adversity,” said Rand Commercial associate broker Paul Adler. “But I also believe landlords have come to a sense of reality, understanding that it is better to have occupied storefronts with viable businesses than to leave stores vacant.”

Commercial real estate brokers estimate landlords are shaving 10 to 20 percent off leasing prices and offering upfront incentives such as a couple of months of free rent to fill vacancies.

Ray Lagstein has run a gallery on South Broadway for six years. During the pandemic, half a dozen tenants left the building where he leases space.

“I was worried,” said the gallery owner. “I saw the stores emptying out. It was sad to see businesses close. But in the last six weeks, I’ve seen the entire building fill up. I believe we are having a strong recovery. I can feel the revitalization.”

Nyack’s Village Planner estimates the commercial vacancy rate to be less than 10 percent.

In Nov. 2020, Mayor Don Hammond said the village had lost at least 25 small businesses. In response, he initiated a business council made up of representatives from Village of Nyack, Chamber of Commerce, Nyack Merchants United, ACADA, and Visit Nyack to work to strengthen the village’s economic fiber. The group continues to meet and strategize for a post-pandemic world.

“Together we have gotten word out that the village is a safe haven,” said Hammond. “The cooperative spirit among business owners has shown what it means to work together and to be successful. We’ve created a new vibe in the community.”

Hammond points out that merchants have used cross-promotion to stimulate commerce, with a boutique and a restaurant pairing together to offer incentives. Eat here and enjoy a $50 coupon off a piece of jewelry. Or purchase a piece of jewelry and get a discount on a meal.

“Nyack put out the welcome mat,” adds Adler. “Nyack has that ability to offer an experience. It’s not just about going to a restaurant. It’s the idea of walking along the street, being part of something, whether it’s a firemen’s parade or a PRIDE event.”

Those in search of co-working have also discovered Nyack.

“When the pandemic hit, many of us had to make adjustments to working from home,” said Julia Khomut, co-owner/operator of Hudson1Nyack and a local architect who has transformed a portion of their office on Hudson Avenue to co-working. “Being part of the Nyack business community for several decades, we realized our space had a new potential to contribute to our community.” Both GMG Public Relations and New City attorney Serrano & Associates have taken offices in Hudson1Nyack.

Though it is not in the heart of the village, the Time Hotel Nyack, has been rebranded under Hyatt’s “Joie de Vivre” signature line in a franchise agreement – adding hope that the village will retain one of two hotels.

Nyack is no stranger to interesting boutiques but those tracking the village’s comeback are heartened to see the addition of stores like Dragon’s Den & Dungeon’s Hall, a gaming shop and eatery, as well as the forthcoming Long Path Outfitters, a hiking and outdoor gear shop slated to open in September.

Laura Neil, the proprietor of Long Path Outfitters, which will fill the space Maria Louisa has vacated and consolidated into one storefront, strongly believes Nyack needs a shop to cater to people who love to hike and kayak.

“People are grasping for things that are safe and familiar,” she said. “Nyack is the gateway to the Hudson Valley. Hook Mountain is the jewel in the crown. We have access for kayakers.”

Mazzeo, who says her sales projections are back on track, is witnessing a constant flow of patrons coming from the city, still seeking refuge from the urban complications revealed during the pandemic.

“Every weekend we see couples that come up and stop for coffee and tell us how much they love Nyack,” she said. “They say ‘we’ll see you next week,’ and they come back and tell us that they’ve rented a house or bid on a property. This is a great opportunity for Nyack’s business community.”

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Tune In Every Monday Morning at 9:15am on WRCR-1700-AM https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/14/rcbj-on-wrcr-1700-ams-morning-show-with-steve-jeff/ Mon, 14 Jun 2021 16:17:39 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=3007 On Monday's at 9:15 Rockland County Business Journal dishes the dirt with Steve and Jeff on WRCR. We talk about retail, real estate, economic development and other issues impacting the county.

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On Mondays at 9:15am Rockland County Business Journal dishes dirt with Steve and Jeff on WRCR. We talk about retail, real estate, economic development and other issues impacting the county. Past shows are archived below.Professional | Business Directory

Leonard Birbrower

June 14, 2021 (11:40) Opting Out of Retail Cannabis – A Self-Inflicted Economic Wound


June 7, 2021 (10:43) HNA Palisades – Shuttered and Awaiting Redevelopment


May 24, 2021 (11:49) West Clarkstown Road Developments; Jehovah’s Witness Campus


May 17, 2021 (11:10) Unemployment, Retail Sales & Stimulus Money


May 10, 2021 (14:37) To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate – Business Friendly Policy?


May 03, 2021 (11:03) Senior Housing Needs in Rockland County


April 26, 2021 (10:31) Development Possibilities at Rockland Country Day School Campus


April 19, 2021 (12:01) Patriot Hills Golf Course Rising; Paramount Country Club Struggles to Reinvent


April 12, 2021 (11:31) Updates on Suez Reservoir Expansion Project and Old Stone Road Violations


April 05, 20221 (11:40) Marijuana – New York


March 29, 2021 (12:48) Clarkstown Code Enforcement, Tree Cutting. Illegal Construction


March 22, 2021 (8:35) Rockland Green? Hi Tor Animal Shelter? Huh?


March 15, 2021 (11:30) What does the future hold for the Palisades Center? Hotels? Residences? Demolition?


March 08, 2021 (14:06) South Nyack suit against Yeshiva Vizhnitz


March 01, 2021 (9:49) Lake DeForest Water Treatment Plant Improvements


February 22, 2021 (13:53) Orangetown May Derail Rockland County’s Plans for Hi-Tor Animal Shelter


February 15, 2021 (10:05) Patricia Zugibe Takes The Helm at Holt Construction


February 8, 2021 (9:43) Nyack’s Residential Real Estate Revival


February 1, 2021 (10:53) Recent Commercial Real Estate Deals


January 25, 2021 (12:50) Clarkstown & Palisades Mall Put Lawsuit Behind


January 18, 2021 (10:46) Stony Point Revisits Its Zoning Code – Roadmap or Speedbump?


January 11, 2021 (8:51) COVID-19 Upsets Rockland County Businesses


January 4, 2021 (7:48) Orangetown Step In To HNA Redevelopment Project


December 28, 2020 (8:49) Palisades Center Lawsuits


December 21, 2020 (9:46) Sale of Nyack College; Dissolution of South Nyack


December 14, 2020 (7:52) Clarkstown Comprehensive Plan – Transfer of Development Rights


December 7, 2020 (10:16) Clarktown’s Planning Board Approves Schimp’s Farm Special Permit for 55-plus housing


November 30, 2020 (11:16) Rockland County Toy Stories


November 23, 2020 – (8:03) Court Approves Sale of Nyack College & Local Voting Complications


November 16, 2020 – (11:06) Local Retail Efforts in Rockland County


November 9, 2020 – (8:45) Talking Palisades Center v. Clarkstown Appeal


November 2, 2020 – (11:09) Manufacturing Revival in Rockland County


October 26, 2020 – (7:28) Rockland County Without Movie Theaters


October 19, 2020 – (10:46) Palisades Center Expansion Referendum


October 12, 2020 – (9:41) HNA Palisades, Orangetown & Eminent Domain


October 5, 2020 – (10:27) Movies, Restaurants, Closures in Rockland County


September 28, 2020 – (10:06) Pro-Hitters Takes On Amazon


September 21, 2020 – (10:18) Nanuet TOD Property Clears Ground For New Housing


September 14, 2020 – (10:52) Talking Palisades Referendum


August 31, 2020 – (11:52) Nyack’s Diana Place Proposed Development Up For Sale


August 24, 2020 – (9:46) Stony Point Referendum for Sale of Patriot Hills Golf Course


August 17, 2020 – (10:28) Rockland Retail Woes


August 10, 2020 – (11:11) Rockland County Tax Certiorari Cases


August 3, 2020 – (15:00) Palisades Center Tax Certiorari & Expansion Referendum


July 27, 2020 – (12:17) Nyack’s Two Villains Brewery’s Pandemic Pivot


July 20, 2020 – (8:48) Palisades Center Avoids Loan Default


July 13, 2020 – (10:55) Retail Closures, Shops at Nanuet and the Palisades Center


July 6, 2020 – (10:33) Rockland’s Pandemic Economy


June 29, 2020 – (10:44) Talking About the Sale of Nyack College


June 15, 2020 – (11:20) QDOBA Names Burrito Bowl After Rockland Teen


June 8, 2020 – (10:06) Commercial Rents & Mortgage


June 1, 2020 – (12:42) Malls, Mortgage Payments & Mayhem


May 18, 2020 – (11:17) Summer Camps 2020, Maybe?


May 11, 2020 – (10:06) Nyack College Proposed Sale


May 4, 2020 – (11:44) The Future of the Palisades Center and the Return of the Normal Economy


April 27, 2020 – (11:17) Palisades Center Financial Woes (update)


April 20, 2020 – (10:19) Palisades Center Loan Default


April 13, 2020 – (10:57) Coronavirus, PPP, EIDL and the SBA (continued)


April 6, 2020 – (8:53) Coronavirus (continued)


March 30, 2020 – (8:33) Coronavirus Continued


March 23, 2020 – (9:09) Coronavirus Continued


March 16, 2020 – (10:38) Talking Coronavirus & Rockland County


March 9, 2020 – (8:20) Talking Piermont Business and Chamber of Commerce


March 2, 2020 – (9:35) Talking Plastic Bags, Hotels and Virus Fears


February 24, 2020 – (8:39) Talking Tourism Happenings, Hotels & the Future


February 17, 2020 – (9:02) Talking About Rockland County’s Supermarkets


February 10, 2020 – (13:27) Talking about Ed Day’s State of the County Speech


February 3, 2020 – (11:20) – Talking Amazon 4-Star at the Palisades Center


January 27, 2020 (11:05) – Talking Rockland County retail, minimum wage and economic development


January 20, 2020 (12:31) – Talking New Tenants At Palisades Center


January 13, 2020 (9:09) – Talking Amazon, Shaking Crab and Development


January 6, 2020 (10:24) – Talking Indie Bookstores in the Hudson Valley


December 30, 2019 (10:40) – Talking Retail Closures and Macy’s Stores


December 23, 2019 (9:50) – Talking Manufacturing in Rockland County


December 16, 2019 (9:58) – Talking Rockland County Hotels


December 9, 2019 (7:24) – Talking About Nanuet’s Transit Oriented Development


December 2, 2019 (12:15) – Talking About Palisade’s Center Court Appeal


November 25, 2019 (11:43) – Talking Rockland County Business


November 18, 2019 (7:16) – Talking Economic Opportunities in Rockland County


November 11, 2019 (8:22) – Talking Rockland Retailing


November 4, 2019 (11:24) – Talking Rockland County Business Opportunities


October 28, 2019 (11:46) – Talking American Dream Mall


October 14, 2019 (7:48) – Talking About Rockland County Business


October 7, 2019 (13:02) – Talking About Rockland County Business


September 24, 2019 (12:04) – Talking Pearl River Transit Oriented Development


June 10, 2019 (11:12) – Suez Explansion Plans & Diesel Generators


June 3, 2019 (10:51) – Opportunites for Economic Development in Rockland County


May 20, 2019 (9:23) – Lord  & Taylor and Rockland’s Disappearing Anchor Stores


May 13, 2019 (10:29) – Suez, Tilcon, Above Ground Storage Tanks & SEQRA


May 7, 2019 (11:00) – Beer, Film Studios, and Suez Expansion Plans


April 29, 2019 (10:44) – Talking Measles and Golf Course Taxes


April 22, 2019 (15:04) – CBD Oils & Retail Malaise


April 15, 2019 (10:57) – Talking Measles and Zoning


April 1, 2019 (13:43) – New York’s Plastic Bag Ban, Part II


March 25, 2019 (15:42) – Plastic Bag Ban, Part I


March 18, 2019 (12:01) – Economic Development


 

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Clarkstown ZBA Grants Building Addition And Parking To ASHAR https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/14/clarkstown-zba-grants-building-addition-and-parking-to-ashar/ Mon, 14 Jun 2021 14:33:34 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6414 The Town of Clarkstown’s Zoning Board of Appeals last week granted variances to a religious school that is planning an extension, worrying a citizens’ action group that is concerned about a series of proposed projects for West Clarkstown Road and nearby roads.

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CUPON Clarkstown Raises Concerns Over Development In West Clarkstown Road Corridor

By Tina Traster

The Town of Clarkstown’s Zoning Board of Appeals last week granted variances to a religious school that is planning an extension, worrying a citizens’ action group that is concerned about a series of proposed projects for West Clarkstown Road and nearby roads.

The ZBA granted approval to the Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland (ASHAR) to build a 2,640 square foot addition to an existing K-8 private school and add 17 new parking spaces at 360 New Hempstead Road in New City.

The application states that the “school does not anticipate substantial population growth in the foreseeable future.” The school says it will use the additional space for an indoor play ear for Early Childhood students.

The school, founded in 1954, and located on 6.5 acres, has a student population of over 500 and 81 employees.

The application also says the school is adding recreational space to provide room for “recommended daily physical activity during inclement weather.”

ASHAR says it needs additional parking because it intends to lower its student to faculty ratio. The application says doing so would “increase the number of teachers, therapists and support staff on premise.” The school has 65 parking spaces.

Under current zoning, the maximum principal building coverage is between 6 percent, meaning the footprint of the building cannot exceed that coverage.

The proposed addition falls within R-40 (schools, houses of worship, single-family homes on lots of 100,000 square feet or more), which allows for a 6 percent maximum building coverage, meaning the structure’s footprint cannot exceed 6 percent of the building lot. The existing school currently covers 22 percent of the lot, and the proposed addition brings the lot coverage to 24 percent.

Zoning in R-40 allows for 18 percent maximum lot coverage, which includes parking lots, outbuildings, and any other structures. The existing coverage was 36 percent; the granted variance increases the allowable coverage to 38 percent of the lot.

The third variance granted to the school was for FAR (Floor Area Ratio), which means the amount of allowable footage that can be built is based on the square footage of the lot. The R-40 zone permits .15; the existing FAR was .216 and the proposed FAR was .234. The lot area is approximately 280,000 square feet.

“Is Clarkstown serious about its goal to “safeguard neighborhoods from inappropriately scaled development, as stated in its Comprehensive Plan?” asks CUPON, which is tracking development townwide but is focused on  overdevelopment in the West Clarkstown Road corridor.

CUPON says, despite concerns from the County Planning Department, the ZBA voted to approve the variances, which will allow building coverage to exceed permitted standards by 300 percent and lot coverage to exceed permitted standards by 111 percent, according to the County Planning Department.

Community members are worried about at least six development projects pending on the mostly residential byway that is also County Road 35A, which connects New Hempstead Road and New Clarkstown Road, on the western edge of Clarkstown bordering the Town of Ramapo.

Last month, the Clarkstown Planning Board greenlighted a development project on West Clarkstown Road, a handful of citizens urged board members to take into consideration a raft of proposed projects on that road and their universal impact to traffic, sewer, water, and other environmental issues.

The Planning Board did not discuss the road as a whole but granted preliminary site plan approval for the demolition of the existing L’Dor Assisted Living Facility at 156 West Clarkstown Road, and the construction of a new 40-unit, two-story replacement property. L’Dor plans to reduce the size of the building by 4,000 square feet from its original of 34,844 square feet. The proposal now goes to the Architectural Historic Review Board (AHRB) for review.

On the town map, West Clarkstown Road is designated as a “secondary county road,” which means that the county is responsible for its maintenance and is a “street serving to connect major roads with each other.”

Residents say they already have trouble exiting driveways from their residential properties.

The most visible site that would undergo transformation is the former Champion Day Camp site at 175 West Clarkstown Road, which had most recently been operating as Camp Merockdim, an Orthodox Jewish day camp. Rockland County developer Gabe (Gavriel) Alexander is under contract to buy the 9-acre parcel in New City. Alexander has filed a memorandum of executory contract with the Clerk of Rockland to purchase the land from RW 175 Realty LLC in Pomona.

“ASHAR is only one of multiple development projects proposed for the West Clarkstown/New Hempstead Road corridor,” said CUPON. “We continue to urge local officials to consider the cumulative impact of these projects on our roads and infrastructure, and to show us they are serious about their stated goal to “safeguard neighborhoods from inappropriately scaled development.”

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Piermont Farmers Market Takes Root In River Village; Becomes Main Attraction On Sundays https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/11/piermont-farmers-market-takes-root-in-river-village-becomes-main-attraction-on-sundays/ Fri, 11 Jun 2021 11:22:41 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6402 The pandemic, a time of lockdowns and rattled nerves, inadvertently put the Piermont Farmers market on a map that extends regionally to New Jersey, Westchester and even Manhattan

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Pandemic Breathed New Life Into Market At A Time When People Were Desperate To Gather

By Tina Traster

Two years ago, two Piermont entrepreneurs took control of a fledgling farmers market and began breathing new life into it slowly. The pandemic, a time of lockdowns and rattled nerves, inadvertently put the Piermont Farmers market on a map that extends regionally to New Jersey, Westchester and even Manhattan. And it has stimulated economic activity in Piermont, which counts on visitors to sustain its boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries.

“Sometimes there are silver linings to bad things,” said Joe Serra, co-founder of the nonprofit that operates the market on Sundays in Parelli Park. “People who never went to farmers’ markets found them, while others rediscovered them.”

During the heart of the shut-in darkness, farmers markets were – and remain – a whiff of fresh air. Last year, especially in the spring when people were itching to leave their homes, farmers markets teemed with activity and hopefulness. It was as close to normal as many could get –even if you had to wear a mask, social distance, and resist giving a friend a hug.

“There weren’t a whole lot of things people could do,” said Serra. “And they were cooking more than ever. We saw a surge of people looking to connect, to shop outdoors, to find something to do.”

In 2020, the 10 am to 3 pm weekly Sunday market drew on average 1,200 visitors per market, compared with 500 in 2019. Due to vibrancy and demand – and ongoing pandemic challenges – Serra maintained an outdoor market throughout the year.

Serra recalls just two years ago when he was “begging vendors to join.” The marketer did whatever he needed to do to round out the selection, including offering incentives helping with staffing. “We did a lot of heavy lifting,” said Serra. “We personally jumped behind the stand, we got personally involved.”

That paid off. Today, there is a vendors’ waiting list to participate in the market, and Serra has to rotate some in order to accommodate demand.

“The farmers market has been a great attraction to bring visitors into the town,” said Food Is Med Farms vendor Murugan Elu. “They have done an excellent job of bringing bona fide vendors so the locals have opportunity not only to shop but also to bring the families and friends” to the market.

The Piermont farmers market is one of just a few robust markets in Rockland County – ironically a county once populated with farms. It grew to more than 20 vendors in 2020, up from 14 when Joe Serra and Bill Walsh convinced M&T in Piermont to sever its ties with Down To Earth, the company that for 14 years ran the outdoor Piermont Farmer’s Market in the bank’s parking lot. During Down To Earth’s tenure, the market grew anemic, with around eight weekly vendors and relatively poor attendance, even though Down To Earth runs several relevant markets in the Hudson Valley.

Serra and Walsh had experience with selling artisanal products at the time of the takeover. The pair ran the Souk, an indoor winter Sunday farmers’ market for several years. The market typically attracted a dozen vendors and those seeking a gathering space with art, a wood-burning stove and home-brewed coffee. The pair did not reopen the Souk in 2020 and for now have no plans to do so in 2021.

While the organic produce, breads, herbals, locally-sourced products and other goods are the main attraction at the current market, Serra understands the value of good real estate. Initially, when the market opened last May amid the pandemic in Flywheel Park, it brought the village to life. Subsequently, the market moved to Parelli Park, adjacent to the river with its Hudson River School of Painting vistas. Then, in colder climes, the market shifted to both the M&T parking lot, and to the Piermont Library parking lot to create more shield from winter elements, including away from the grass and onto plowable surfaces during the snowy season.

The market will be participating in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which provides checks to women, infants and children through the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) and to seniors through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for purchase of locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be purchased with checks at farmers’ markets from June – November 30.

Serra noted the pandemic brought about a change in how people shop for food.

“During the pandemic, there was a shortage of meat, so people came to the markets for farm-raised chicken and beef,” Serra said. “Businesses couldn’t keep up with the demand.”

As life and commerce normalize, the market remains robust. While traffic may have dropped a sliver from the height of COVID’s crest, visitors pulse through the market every Sunday, making vendors and shoppers happy, while adding an injection of energy to Rockland’s riverfront village.

“Farmers’ markets are important to the identity of a community,” Serra said. “It’s something residents are proud of.”

PHOTO CREDITS: Betsy Franco-Feeney

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Net Leasing Maintains Its Luster, Even Through Pandemic https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/10/net-leasing-maintains-its-luster-even-through-pandemic/ Thu, 10 Jun 2021 11:27:39 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6398 net-lease properties continue to attract interest during this downturn as investors seek long-term dependable cash flows,

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Net Leasing Holds Steady Year-To-Date; Explodes In Warehouse Sector

By Judith Bachman

While the pandemic upended many things, one thing remains constant: landlords prefer ‘net leasing’ to any other lease terms. Even the pandemic didn’t change that.

judith bachmanA net lease, as opposed to a gross lease, is one in which the tenant pays both rent and some of the expenses associated with the property.  There are three types of net leases: single, double and triple net leases.  In a single net lease, the tenant pays base rent plus property taxes.  In a double net lease, the renter pays property taxes and insurance premiums, in addition to the base rent.  A triple net lease includes property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs and obligations, in addition to the base rent.

In each one of these net lease arrangements, the landlord can shift both costs and responsibilities to the tenant. To the extent a property owner hopes to achieve truly passive investing status, net leasing is the pathway to do that.

Of course, net leasing has its draw backs as well. First, rents are generally lower with net leases than gross leases—the more expenses a tenant has to bear, the lower the base rent a landlord can charge. With lower base rents, that might affect the landlord’s ability to finance the property.

Additionally, in a net lease the landlord is depending heavily on the tenant’s prospects for success and its ability to pay both the rent and the property expenses.  That is why many landlords will only entertain national or so-called credit worthy tenants for triple net lease properties.

With all the considerations, net leasing remains strong through the COVID crisis.

“Much like the global financial crisis trend we experienced over a decade ago, net-lease properties continue to attract interest during this downturn as investors seek long-term dependable cash flows,” Will Pike, vice chairman of net lease properties for capital markets at CBRE said.

In a recently released by CBRE, the volume of net leasing transactions in the New York market ($319 million) was exactly the same when comparing the first quarters of 2020 and 2021.  Unsurprisingly, the biggest increase in net leasing activity in New York through the pandemic was in the industrial/warehouse sector, which rose a whopping 193 percent.

As attractive net leasing is to landlords, it holds appeal for tenants as well. Net lease properties often allow tenants full control over the building.  Tenants can often build out the space to their specifications.  They can maintain the property at cost and often avoid property management fees and overhead charged by landlords. And again, base rents are lower so the property may be more affordable than in a gross lease arrangement.

Judith Bachman is the founder and principal of The Bachman Law Firm PLLC in New City. judith@thebachmanlawfirm.com 845-639-3210, thebachmanlawfirm.com 

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Hi Tor Kicks In Funds For Shelter, Montefiore Honors Pfizer, Briefs https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/10/hi-tor-kicks-in-funds-for-shelter-montefiore-honors-pfizer-briefs/ Thu, 10 Jun 2021 11:25:46 +0000 https://rcbizjournal.com/?p=6391 Hi Tor Kicks In More Than $470,000 For New Shelter; Montefiore Honors Pfizer, Briefs

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Hi Tor Kicks In More Than $470,000 For New Shelter

Pit bull mix Roo presented Rockland County Executive Ed Day with two checks totaling $472,578 at the Hi Tor Animal Care Center in Pomona to be used for the construction of a new shelter building.

hi tor“We are so thankful to Hi Tor and all of the folks who donated to their shelter fund over the years for this contribution,” said County Executive Day. “We will put this funding to good use in building the new state of the art facility to care for our county’s animals. We had expected roughly $350,000 from Hi Tor, so this amount is a pleasant surprise which will reduce the amount of County tax dollars going to the project.”

“We are proud to be able to contribute the nearly half a million dollars in our shelter fund to this important work; all thanks to our many generous supporters. On behalf of the Hi Tor Animal Care Center Board of Directors, we want to extend our appreciation to County Executive Day, the County Legislature and all of Rockland County for realizing the need and urgency in building a new shelter here at Hi Tor. Many of our animals have already had such a hard little life by the time they join us, and we are now overjoyed for them. We are so looking forward to a great place for our animals, volunteers, and staff,” said Hi Tor Board President Debbie DiBernardo.

Rauhaus Freedenfeld & Associates Architects has provided progress design plans and specifications calling for a new 14,000 square foot shelter, replacing the current 4,000 square foot facility. Upon receipt of the final design plans and specifications Rockland County will solicit bids and a construction contract will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. The new facility will be built to accommodate future expansion if necessary.

A total of $8.3 million has been budgeted for the new shelter. Funding has been secured from the following sources:

  •     $472,578 from Hi Tor Shelter Fund
  •     $500,000 in grant funding from Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski
  •     $500,000 in grant funding from the New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund
  •     $6.9 million in Rockland Capital Project Funding

Montefiore Honors Pfizer For Covid-19 Work

montefioreMontefiore Nyack Hospital last week presented Pfizer’s Research and Development Center in Pearl River, NY with a plaque recognizing their team’s expertise and heroic efforts for developing in record-breaking speed the COVID-19 vaccine that has saved and will continue to save countless lives worldwide.

The Hospital’s Medical Staff presented honorary membership to five employees selected by Pfizer to represent their team of more than 800 members of the Pearl River Vaccine Research and Development Center. The honorary members include Adriana M. Cahill, MS; Philip R. Dormitzer, MD, PhD; Arman M. Fardanesh, MS, MBA, NREMT; Keri Swanson, PhD; and Desiree Villaraza, who were all welcomed to the stage and presented with a personalized Montefiore Nyack Hospital lab coat. The Pfizer Pearl River team was also presented  with a proclamation from New York State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and a citation from New York State Assemblyman Mike Lawler.

“The positive difference the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine has made in the lives of so many is immeasurable. The efficacy of the vaccine has exceeded all expectations,” said Mark E. Geller, President and CEO of Montefiore Nyack Hospital. “Seeing the pandemic come full circle from the toughest times to the present, where we are administering vaccines and getting back to life as we once knew it, has been a deeply humbling and extraordinary experience.”

Montefiore Nyack Hospital has administered approximately 10,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.


Developer Scales Back Condo Project At Route 9W and Rockland Lake Road

The builder 9W Valley Cottage LLC appeared before the Clarkstown Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) with a revised plan for 14 buildings with 35 dwelling units, a community building, and 140 parking spaces on 7.4 acres on MF-1 zoned land on the east side of Route 9W, approximately 765 feet south of the intersection of Route 9W and Rockland Lake Road in Valley Cottage. The condominium project would sit just to the west of Rockland Lake State Park’s parking field and Executive Golf Course.

crystal lakeThe developer originally hoped to build 42 units and sought an AAR (Active Adult Residences) Special Permit. The plan calls for merging three existing lots to allow for 12 buildings and a club house under the existing zoning.

According to the developer’s submission to the Town of Clarkstown Planning Department, the site will be accessed by a private road serving only the development. And, although the AAR permit is no longer being sought, the developer expects buyers of the units to be “seniors and people looking to downsize from their current homes.” The two-story homes would be built with elevators to enable buyers to continue to live in and fully use the residences even with limited mobility due to age or disability.

The proposed community building would include a recreation hall and indoor swimming pool. No price points for the units were offered.

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