Forty years ago, Westchester County was a sleepy suburb of New York City. People got up in the morning, went to work in nearby cities, maybe even went out to dinner and theater there, and then returned to sleep. But the arrival of the multi-national corporations in the 1970s began to change the dynamics, and Westchester grew in every respect.
Fast forward to 2011. Westchester still had a great location — proximity to a world capital, good mass transit, magnificent parks and preserves, excellent schools, and highly touted cultural attractions, retail establishments and restaurants. In terms of lifestyle, it couldn’t be beat. But, there were problems.
As the multi-national corporations began to move away and the economy stalled, Westchester faced challenges that other parts of the country were experiencing, with the result that there were:
- Six million square feet of vacant commercial office space;
- Westchester was losing more jobs than it was creating;
- No new office buildings had been constructed for 20+ years.
What else was missing? The kind of economic vitality that spawns innovation, investment, and jobs; business to fill the buildings abandoned by the multi-nationals and others; and opportunity and living space for thousands of our young professionals.
It was time to make a change. The BLUEPRINT for Westchester was launched in 2011 at a press conference which included business and civic leaders, local officials, and members of the Westchester County Association. Since then, it has made tremendous progress and generated enthusiastic support from all quarters.