Westchester County is investing a small sum in its effort to lure businesses away from New York City.
Westchester, which is headed by County Executive Rob Astorino, who lost the gubernatorial election to Andrew Cuomo last year, is setting up shop at 125 Park Avenue in Midtown where it will operate a new economic development initiative that seeks to sell New York City businesses on the advantages of moving outside the city limits.
According to Bill Mooney, the director of Westchester’s Office of Economic Development, the county’s lease for its new office in 125 Park Avenue in Midtown costs $45,000 per year.
Mooney did not provide measurements for the new space in the SL Green-owned builing, however, he said that it is a “relatively small office” that shares a conference room with other tenants. “It’s small because we only need a small space to convince these people to come on up and take a look at the advantages Westchester offers,” Mooney said.
He said that Westchester is a great alternative to New York City because it has a skilled workforce, rental space that costs half as much as in New York City and is only 30 minutes away from Manhattan.
“The purpose of the office is to aggressively promote Westchester’s many assets, offerings and competitive advantages to companies and entrepreneurs looking to relocate, expand or start businesses,” Astorino said in his State of the County address.
While the move may be considered provocative considering that Westchester is making its pitch inside New York City itself, Mooney insists that they are not trying to get businesses to defect to Westchester, they are merely offering an alternative to moving outside of the state.
“To ensure that businesses who are looking to leave New York for New Jersey or Connecticut, or even south, South Carolina, Texas, etc… this is for them. To ensure that they have the opportunity to give Westchester, and to give New York, one more shot,” he said.
He also denied any political motivations for the move, saying that the new office is merely an “economic development initiative.”
The Westchester office is scheduled to open in May. Mooney said that they are already negotiating with several companies.