Lowe’s at Ridge Hill, craft brewery backed by Yonkers IDA

By John Golden

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A $35 million project by Lowe’s Companies Inc. to open a home improvement store at Westchester’s Ridge Hill in 2016 was among three proposed developments recently approved for tax exemptions by the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency.

The city IDA at its Dec. 16 meeting also gave its initial support for tax breaks to a new craft brewery on the downtown waterfront and a realty firm’s commercial redevelopment of a Nepperhan Avenue warehouse that serves as the Yonkers Fire Department’s special operations and storage facility.

All three backed projects require public hearings before the IDA can grant final approval of financial incentives.

Yonkers city officials said Lowe’s plans to build an 85,000-square-foot store that includes a garden center on an undeveloped parcel at Ridge Hill Boulevard and Otis Drive in Forest City Ratner’s Ridge Hill shopping center. The Lowe’s store will rise along the Thruway corridor in Yonkers across from its chief big-box competitor, Home Depot.

The development is expected to provide 90 full-time jobs. Construction is scheduled to begin next May and be completed by the end of 2016.

Lowe’s told IDA officials the company will invest $19 million in property acquisition, $11.7 million in construction costs, and $5 million in furnishings and equipment for the retail store.  The IDA agreed to provide a $978,000 sales tax exemption on construction materials.

A Fortune 50 company headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s reported $56.2 billion in total company revenues in 2014.  Founded in 1946, the publicly traded company has more than 1,845 home improvement and hardware stores and 265,000 employees in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

 “Lowe’s indicates it has a corporate policy of supporting K-12 public education and community improvement projects,” Yonkers Industrial Development Agency president Kenneth Jenkins said in the city’s announcement. “Combined with 90 new jobs and the taxes they will pay, this is an excellent addition to the city’s corporate community.”

Yonkers IDA directors also tentatively approved tax incentives for an 11,000-square-foot craft brewery planned by Fondak Enterprises LLC, a family-owned company formed one year ago in Syracuse. The business, which will include a production and sales facility and public taproom, will operate at 72 Alexander St., a 63-year-old warehouse building in the city’s downtown waterfront area, which has been the focus of redevelopment by city officials and private developers.

The brewery will be operated by Andrew Fondak and his parents Jeffrey and Dorothy Fondak. Andrew and Jeffrey, a recently retired dentist near Watertown in upstate Jefferson County, are graduates of the World Brewing Academy and certified master brewers, according to Yonkers officials.

The project is expected to cost approximately $3.35 million and create up to 20 new jobs. The Yonkers IDA initially approved, pending a public hearing, a $144,000 sales tax exemption on construction materials, a $27,000 mortgage recording tax exemption, and a temporary property tax abatement to be negotiated.

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, who also serves as chairman of the city IDA, noted the success of another IDA-backed craft brewery on the downtown waterfront, Yonkers Brewing Co. in the former city trolley barn at 90 Main St. “This is exactly what we hoped for in the downtown and waterfront,” Spano said in a press release. “One successful business inspires another.”

The site of the planned brewery also is near the former Yonkers City Jail at 24 Alexander St., another property being redeveloped to attract new residents and visitors to the city’s postindustrial waterfront. Daniel Wolf, a private Manhattan collector and dealer in art, photography and furniture and the husband of architect Maya Lin, purchased the two-story 10,800-square-foot brick edifice about two years for conversion to an art storage, exhibit and performance space.

The Yonkers IDA board also approved a $3 million project by Thethi Realty LLC in Scarsdale to purchase and adapt 460 Nepperhan Ave., in the former Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Mills complex, for commercial tenants.

Louis Gjelaj, owner of Thethi Realty, earlier this year purchased the adjacent 470 Nepperhan Ave. property and said he would renovate that four-story 116,000 square-foot building with the aim of drawing large high-tech companies to Yonkers. The city and previous private owners in the last decade were unsuccessful in developing the property as a high-tech business center.

Yonkers officials said the 460 Nepperhan project will include $1 million in construction costs for improvements. The IDA approved an $89,000 sales tax exemption on construction materials, an $18,000 mortgage recording tax exemption, and a temporary property tax abatement to be determined.

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About the author

John Golden
The Business Journal’s senior writer, John Golden directs news coverage of the county and Hudson Valley region as Westchester bureau chief. He was an award-winning upstate columnist and feature writer before joining the Business Journal in 2007. He is the author of “Northern Drift: Sketches on the New York Frontier,” a collection of his regional journalism.

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