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Experts discuss emerging Westchester real estate market

The Real Estate Institute at Fordham University’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies and The Business Council of Westchester recently co-hosted the Real Estate Mastermind Forum: 24-Hour Cities – Emerging Trends in Transactions, Technology and Transportation.

The event, which took place at the University’s West Harrison campus, brought together industry experts and County leaders for a discussion on the future of the real estate market and the makings of a 24-hour city.

Keynote speaker Hugh F. Kelly, PhD, CRE, shared research on Westchester cities’ population density threshold, public safety ratings and office and multifamily transactions.

Trends in Metro North ridership and walkability scores were also analyzed.

“According to Metro North statistics, there are 64 percent more commuters on Metro North east of the Hudson Line than there were three decades ago, and only half of the growth is in commutation to and from Manhattan,” said Kelly.

“Once you get off the train, Westchester’s downtowns are quite walkable. Walk Score, an algorithmically-based statistic that measures how close residents are to amenities such as coffee shops, restaurants, gyms, etc., ranks many of the County’s downtowns as ‘Walkers Paradises’. Typically you have to achieve a score of 90 out of 100 to get that ranking, and you see that in towns like White Plains, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon and Yonkers, among others.”

Kelly is a Special Advisor to the Real Estate Institute at Fordham University’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies, a world-renowned economist and the head of his own consulting practice, Hugh F. Kelly Real Estate Economics, as well as the author of 24-Hour Cities: Real Investment Performance, Not Just Promises.

A thought-provoking question and answer session with industry experts followed Kelly’s presentation, featuring Michael Patrick Davidson (Managing Director – Global Real Estate, Head of the Americas & World Headquarters, JP Morgan Chase and Co.); Rosemary Scanlon (Chair of the Board, TransitCenter, a nonprofit advocate for public transit; former Chief Economist for PANYNJ; former Divisional Dean at NYU); and David Schiff, AICP (from Kimley-Horn and chair of Westchester/Fairfield Urban Land Institute).

“The inaugural Real Estate Mastermind Forum was a great introduction for Fordham’s Real Estate Institute here in Westchester County, as well as a springboard for a future Master’s program. We were thrilled to work alongside The Business Council of Westchester on such an important event,” said Anthony R.  Davidson, PhD, MBA, dean of Fordham’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, said that the program was part of a larger BCW economic development initiative focused on revitalizing Westchester’s urban areas. She said the BCW would be presenting a “Playbook” outlining strategies for the county’s urban areas in the coming months.

“We have many vibrant downtowns in Westchester: White Plains, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle,’’ said Gordon.

“Our goal is to focus on attracting companies and developers to these areas as part of an overall economic development strategy. Today’s program offered some very valuable information toward this goal.

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