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Visionary Developer and Business Leader Robert F. Weinberg Dies at 90 

As co-founder of the Robert Martin Company, Weinberg was a real estate development pioneer who transformed Westchester County over the past 60 years   

Robert F. Weinberg, a visionary commercial and residential developer who over six decades transformed the landscape and economy of Westchester County as co-founder of the Robert Martin Company, died of natural causes at his home in Manhattan on Sept. 3, 2019. He was 90.

Working side-by-side with his life-time business partner, the late Martin S. Berger, Weinberg and the Robert Martin Company were at the forefront of innovation and change in the real estate industry. Most notably, the company pioneered the development of more than six million square feet of office and industrial parks across Westchester and Fairfield counties, as well as over 3,000 apartments, condominiums and single-family homes throughout Westchester.

Weinberg’s astute business sense consistently kept the company on the cutting edge of real estate trends. This enabled the firm to play a leading role in a wide array of major projects, including the creation of expansive suburban office and industrial parks, hotels, retail centers, as well as thousands of housing units. The company was particularly active in the cities of White Plains and Yonkers; the towns of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant; and the villages of Tarrytown, Elmsford and Port Chester.

Combining their first names, Weinberg and Berger, who died in 2011, founded the Robert Martin Company in 1957. They began by modestly building five single-family homes in Ardsley.  They quickly expanded, building larger single-family home developments in Hartsdale, Yorktown, White Plains, and other communities.

In the late 1960s, however, they took a step that was to change the course of their business and in real ways, even the trajectory of economic development in Westchester. Acquiring a large tract of land on Route 9A in Greenburgh, Weinberg and Berger decided to build an office-warehouse park, the first of its kind in Westchester County.

The overwhelming success of the Cross Westchester Executive Park led to a series of transformative mixed-use office and commercial projects that the company developed, including the South Westchester Executive Park in Yonkers; the Mid Westchester Executive Park in Hawthorne; and the Stamford Executive Park in Stamford, CT.

The company was the first major developer to invest in the Urban Renewal of downtown White Plains. Its work there included the development of sixteen unique projects, culminating in the development of a full city block opposite the White Plains train station known as Westchester Financial Center.  Located at 50 Main Street, the project included two office towers, an apartment tower, and a common parking garage.

The company also led the way in the redevelopment of downtown Port Chester and constructed over 1,000 apartments in Elmsford and Greenburgh.

Today, the company’s diverse portfolio includes over six million square feet of multi-family, office, retail and industrial properties as well as over 200 acres of developable land in Westchester, Connecticut and Florida.

Earlier this year, the company, led today by Tim Jones and Greg Berger, completed the acquisition of a 3.1 million square-foot office/flex portfolio, consisting mostly of properties originally developed by Robert Martin. The $487.5 million purchase from Mack-Cali Realty Corporation was the largest commercial real estate transaction in Westchester County history.

Weinberg was born in Manhattan on Sept. 20, 1928, to his mother Ray Greenbaum and father Alexander Weinberg. He grew up in New York City, although he and his parents spent time in Elmsford when he was recovering from scarlet fever as a young boy.

Weinberg earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from New York University, a Masters of Science Degree in Building Engineering & Construction from M.I.T. and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

A true visionary, Weinberg was particularly fond of a group he formed and chaired for more than 40 years, the Outreach Committee on Orderly Growth in Westchester. The group, which grew to include more than 40 members, meets for lunch seven times a year with Weinberg personally setting the agenda for “off-the-record” discussions of a wide range of issues pertinent to Westchester’s future including transportation, housing, planning and zoning.

In addition to operating Robert Martin, he was also deeply involved in business, civic and philanthropic positions throughout the community. These included serving as a Director of the Mack-Cali Real Estate Investment Trust; Chairman of the Westchester Public Issues Institute; Director of the Westchester County Association; President of the Builders Institute of Westchester & Putnam Counties; Director of the publicly-traded Sequa Corporation; Commissioner of the Westchester County Utility Agency; Member of the Westchester County Advisory Committee on Housing Policy; Chairman of the UJA/Federation, Westchester Real Estate & Builder’s Division; Trustee of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York; and Chairman of the Associated YM-YWHA’s of Greater New York; Director of the City & Suburban Financial Corporation; Board Member of SUNY Purchase; Member of the Design Task Force for the TZB/Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, and Co-founder of City and Suburban Savings Bank, among other involvements.

He maintained homes in White Plains, Manhattan and Palm Beach, FL. He was a long-time member of the Metropolis Country Club in Greenburgh and served on its Board of Directors, and also was a member of the Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck, the Harmonie Club and the Doubles Club in Manhattan, and the Palm Beach Country Club in Florida.

Mr. Weinberg was predeceased by his parents, his wife of 53 years, Marilyn, in 2012, and his daughter, Eileen W. Toulouse, in 2016. He is survived by his grandchildren Stacy Lynn Reilly and her husband Sam, and Scott Alexander Hesse and his wife Whitney, and his great grandchildren Jake Ethan Reilly, Cameron Michael Reilly and William Robert Hesse.

A memorial service will be held Friday, September 6, at 9:30 a.m. at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, located at 1076 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10028 at 81st Street. Further arrangements are being made for the family to receive friends in both Westchester and New York City.

The family suggest, in lieu of flowers, that memorials be made in his memory to the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers, N.Y., or the Ranachqua Foundation, which supports Boy Scouts activities and college scholarships, in Bronx, N.Y.

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Editorial:

By James C. Benerofe

The three leading candidates for president of the United States are all in their mid to late seventies.  Probably 90 percent of people in that age group are retired or planning to retire in the very near future.  They are not thinking of running a major corporation or even a small company—to say nothing of running the most powerful country in the entire world.

These three men–President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden, and United States Senator Bernie Sanders have all exhibited age related behavior during their campaigning. The national media seems to be ignoring this issue. These men are old and it is a serious issue.  The odds of them dying or developing an incapacitating illness during their term in office is very high.  Additionally, the normal aging process will also take its toll.

It’s time for a dose of reality–old men or old women can’t run a country of 329,000,000 people. If your over 65 running for President is just not a good option.

Footnote: I am 78 years old. I thought for a very long time before writing this editorial.  Many of my friends  are in this age group.  I am very familiar with the problems they face. The willingness to choose candidates in this age range is absolutely crazy.

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White Plains Hospital Breaks Ground on New 252,000-Sq.-Ft  Outpatient Care Center

State-of-the-Art Tower Transforms Hospital Campus While Driving Economic Growth in Westchester County & White Plains

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (April  2019)— White Plains Hospital (WPH) officially broke ground on a pivotal addition to its campus today, a 252,000 square-foot, 9-story outpatient center for advanced medicine and surgery, located at the corner of Maple and Longview Avenues, adjacent and connected to both the main Hospital and the Center for Cancer Care. The announcement was made today at an official groundbreaking held at the site.

The facility is one of the most significant additions to the Hospital’s ongoing campus transformation, which has also included extensive campus modernization and renovation, such as the expanded Center for Cancer Care, completed in 2016, and the Hospital’s new lobby and inpatient tower, completed in 2015. Since 2015, approximately 475,000 square feet have been renovated or added to the Hospital. The new project is estimated to cost approximately $272 million.

“White Plains Hospital continues to raise the bar on what it means to deliver the highest quality care in settings that are tailored to patients and their families,” said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO, Montefiore Medicine. “This new location represents the very best Montefiore has to offer, passionate physicians, who are leaders in their fields with access to cutting-edge research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, backed by the most modern technology available today.”

The new advanced center will house new operating rooms, endoscopy suites, cutting-edge imaging, wound care delivered through hyperbaric chambers, and specialty physician practices including: orthopedics, spine, maternal fetal medicine, neurosurgery, and a Heart and Vascular Center.

“The new center is an exciting step in White Plains Hospital’s transformation into the leading tertiary care hub for patients in Westchester County and beyond,” explained Susan Fox, President and CEO of White Plains Hospital. “Inside, we will deliver a seamless patient experience and offer ease and convenience for accessing additional advanced ambulatory services and procedures.” Ms. Fox continued, “The growth and vitality of White Plains Hospital has been a key driver in attracting top medical talent from major teaching and research hospitals in New York. Our medical staff has grown significantly, and we have added or expanded in key specialties such as oncology, interventional cardiology, neurosurgery, hepatobiliary surgery, electrophysiology and orthopedics.”

The facility will also be a job creator for the County. In 2018, White Plains Hospital supported 6,264 jobs through a combination of direct employment (3,034) at the Hospital and its satellites, and indirect job creation (3,230) for supply and equipment vendors, contractors, laborers, and in local businesses that support the Hospital’s workforce and visitors. The new project is expected to bring a 9% growth in new jobs over the four-year period. In the City of White Plains in 2018, WPH supported or sustained 2,605 jobs, accounting for 1 in every 36 jobs within the City, either directly or indirectly. By the end of construction, the impact on the City of White Plains is projected to be 2,869 jobs, of which 441 will be attributed to the new center.

 

Other Details:

Enhanced Patient Experience: The patient drop-off driveway is integrated into the building’s design, allowing patients to essentially drive into the building for convenient drop off. Two bridges will connect the outpatient facility to the main Hospital. One bridge will be designated for staff and patients, and another for visitors. This unique layout keeps hospital activity and patients “behind the scenes,” securing their privacy.

Sustainable Design and Construction: The project is designed in accordance with the principles of sustainable construction to support energy efficiency, water efficiency, light pollution reduction, and indoor air quality.

Smart Building Features: The building will feature a robust IT infrastructure designed to facilitate current and future medical technology, such as telemedicine. An intelligent infrastructure will support automatic building management, energy efficiency through technology and real-time data collection.

The new construction project is part of White Plains Hospital’s ongoing modernization, which has included extensive campus renovations, the addition of satellite offices, and the acquisition of new specialty practices. With locations across Westchester County, White Plains Hospital’s footprint now extends from New Rochelle to Yorktown.

 

 

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Former White Plains Mayor, Alfred Del Vecchio, Dead at 95

Born in 1923, Al Del Vecchio was the longest serving mayor. He served 4 terms, from 1976 to 1993.

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Million Air Celebrates Grand Opening of New Hangar at Westchester Airport 

State-of-the-Art Facility is Part of an $80 Million Investment

by Million Air in its 26-Acre Corporate Aviation Complex

WEST HARRISON, NY (May 2, 2018) – County and local officials today joined with executives from Million Air to celebrate the grand opening of Million Air’s new state-of-the-art hangar at its corporate aviation complex at Westchester County Airport.  The 52,000-square-foot hangar is part of Million Air’s $80 million expansion and upgrade at the airport.

The two-story hangar features 28-foot height doors capable of housing a Gulfstream 650, which is Gulfstream’s largest business jet. Floors are heated with a high-tech radiant heat system that allows temperatures to be maintained for aircraft and pilots. The new hangar also includes eight customizable offices with storage space. With the completion of the new hangar, Million Air’s complex now has 84,000 square feet of hangar space and 7.25 acres of ramp space.

 “The growth and development of our Million Air network and brand has come as a result of strong dedication from all levels within the organization,” said Roger Woolsey, CEO of Million Air. “As our employees continue to create powerful first impressions at the Westchester County Airport, we are reinvesting in our facilities to create more jobs and better service our customers.  This is a win-win for our team and the Westchester County community.”

Construction is currently under way on a new 18,000-square-foot terminal. Located adjacent to the new hangar, the two-story Adirondack-styled terminal is luxuriously designed with a resort-style ambiance including elegant seating areas, wood and rock features, stone framed dual fireplaces and wood beam ceilings. The new terminal will feature conference rooms, pilot lounge with sleep rooms, barista staffed grand coffee bar, climate controlled indoor valet area and additional parking. The new terminal is expected be completed by the end of this year.

 Westchester County Director of Operations Joan McDonald said: “Each day our administration is looking for opportunities to partner with businesses in Westchester County. We are proud of what we as a County have to offer both new and existing companies looking to make Westchester their home. Million Air’s new hangar at Westchester County Airport is a great example of what we can accomplish together.”

“Demand has been on the rise with a steady flow of aircraft coming in to the Westchester County Airport. The aviation industry has improved with the strengthened economy. It’s great to see our region experiencing an increase in new and repurposed construction projects that bring new jobs and new residents to our area.  The airport has certainly facilitated the growth we are experiencing and I extend my sincere congratulations to Million Air and to all who participated in this wonderful project,” said Harrison Town Mayor/Supervisor Ron Belmont

In May 2016, the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved a 30-year lease with Million Air, granting improvements of the company’s Fixed Base Operation facilities on the 26-acre property at Westchester County Airport. In October 2016, the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) approved issuing tax-exempt bonds for Million Air, which lowered the project’s financing costs.

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Dealing with Devastation
Editorial by James C. Benerofe
With the onslaught of natural disasters in recent months, there are practical steps that we could
take to make recovery easier and allow for dealing more effectively with long and short term recovery. We have been faced with hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes.  Hurricanes
and floods have devastated island and coastlines.
Why don’t we have some large cruise ships come into places like Puerto Rico and other tropical islands and house  thousands of people until reconstruction of infrastructure can be completed.
This would be an immediate interim solution–an obviously temporary measure.
For the long term,  FEMA should consider and evaluate building disaster recovery ships that would essentially be floating cities. These ships would be designed like cruise ships. FEMA might  also
explore buying and modifying existing cruise ships.  These ships would have the ability to move to a disaster area within a matter of days. The ships would be designed with all of the facilities that a community has–apartments, retail stores, medical services, recreational services, and a lot of other necessities. The ship would be stocked and maintained at all times. The ships would vary in size
starting at accommodating 500 to 1000 people and going to as large as 5000 to 6000 people.
The objective of this concept would be to bring families and individuals back to some kind of
normal lifestyle as quickly as possible.This kind of program will require extensive evaluation.
We are dealing with catastrophic events involving millions of people and we need to do something.

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