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Opinion: Pace President Urges Action On Westchester Biotech Center

Pace President Stephen J. Friedman.
Pace President Stephen J. Friedman. Photo Credit: Pace

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- The Westchester BioScience and Technology Center is a bold and ambitious development proposal that is projected to bring more than 8,000 permanent jobs to Westchester County with 3 million square feet of medical and bio-tech laboratory, office and research space in the Town of Mount Pleasant.

The BioScience and Technology Center proposed by Fareri Associates represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the county and the town. The explosive growth in medical research and development coupled with the expansion and increasing sophistication in health care services are two of the major drivers in the economy of today and tomorrow.

The project is led by John Fareri, who with his wife Brenda were the guiding forces in the creation and construction of the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital next to the Medical Center. Fareri Associates has a deep understanding of construction and the real estate market.

The location for the BioScience and Technology Center is literally in the center of Westchester. It includes 60 acres of vacant county-owned land and 20 acres of contiguous land owned by Fareri adjacent to the Westchester Medical Center complex in Valhalla. Access is excellent via Route 100, Route 9A and the Sprain Brook Parkway. The Metro-North Harlem Line has multiple stations nearby and the site is already served by numerous Bee-Line buses.

The prospect of this important new facility is especially good news for Pace University. Our fully-transformed Westchester campus, also in Mount Pleasant, is less than two miles away. With our extensive undergraduate and graduate health care, nursing and technology programs, there are natural synergies for our university. However, the benefits of the plan will benefit all institutions of higher education in the county by creating extensive opportunities for internships, training and permanent job opportunities for both students and graduates.

Last January, County Executive Rob Astorino submitted the proposed lease to the County Board of Legislators, which is currently evaluating the lease with the goal of voting on the lease later this fall. The lease has been designed to protect the taxpayers of Westchester by having the property — improvements included — revert to the county should the project not meet progress goals as detailed in the lease. That puts the burden of any risks on the shoulders of the private developer.

Pace University looks forward to working with Fareri and all involved in seeing this critically important project for Westchester’s economic future come to fruition as soon as possible. 

Stephen J. Friedman is the President of Pace University.