WPCNR THE AGONY OF THE RECOVERY. From the First Niagara Bank Leadership Conversation Series. June27, 2015
The transformation of the suburban real estate market and its economy over the next 20 years will entail repurposing office space with a smart combination of healthcare uses, residential and light retail, a leading commercial developer told an audience of more than 100 business leaders at the Business Council of Westchester’s First Niagara Bank Leadership Conversations Series this week.
Joseph Simone, President and CEO of Simone Development Companies, said Westchester must modernize its antiquated office parks — particularly along the I-287 corridor – and repurpose existing buildings to reflect significant shifts and consolidations in the healthcare industry; changing housing needs for young professionals that are near public transportation and advances in new technologies.
“The suburbs are going to be repurposed for other, higher and better uses,” Simone said. “Things have to be done way more efficiently.”
Simone’s remarks were part of fascinating 45-minute interview between Simone and Business Council CEO Marsha Gordon. Topics discussed included Simone’s role in creating with the first “bedless” hospital with Montefiore Health Systems; his company’s plans to transform the Boyce Thompson property in Yonkers and the explosive growth of New York City’s outer boroughs that will no doubt lead to opportunities for Westchester’s urban centers, notably Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and White Plains. Referring to the urban centers, he said, “That’s where young people are going to live. But you have to provide public transportation.”
Simone knows of what he speaks. Simone Development Companies is a full-service real estate investment company that owns and manages more than 5 million square feet of property in Westchester, the Bronx, Queens, Long Island and Connecticut.
Under Simone’s visionary leadership, the company has been in the forefront of partnering with major healthcare providers to create turnkey ambulatory medical facilities in the New York metropolitan area, with over 2 million square feet of new healthcare and medical office space currently built or in development.
In Westchester, Simone Development recently completed a state-of-the-art medical office building for WESTMED Medical Group at the Purchase Professional Park; it is the first new office building to be constructed on the I-287 corridor in more than 25 years. Simone Development earlier this month broke ground on an innovative project that will transform the former Boyce Thompson horticultural complex in Yonkers into a modern mixed-use development featuring professional offices, medical space, retail stores, bank and restaurants.
During the conversation, Simone cited significant changes and monumental shifts that are happening in the healthcare industry that are creating a need for more efficient systems. The great news, he added, was that these changes are going to create new jobs and opportunities, and necessitate colleges and universities train students for careers in healthcare. He said these advances will reverberate into throughout the economy.
In describing why his visionary approach to real estate development has worked so well, Simone said: “It’s about fulfilling a need. If you fulfill people’s need, you will be successful.”
“Joe Simone’s vision and approach are fascinating and we appreciate that he shared his insight with our members,” Gordon said. “It’s clear that he is playing a key role in transforming the New York Metropolitan real estate market now and for years to come.”