Home Construction Danone NA moving headquarters to downtown White Plains

Danone NA moving headquarters to downtown White Plains

Danone North America ,the parent company for brands such as Dannon yogurt and Evian water, will move its headquarters from Greenburgh to downtown White Plains next year.

The French international food-products company announced the move of its U.S. headquarters following the approval of a zoning amendment by the White Plains Common Council on Monday night that allowed the company to open a food laboratory at The Source building at 100 Bloomingdale Road.

The move represents a significant catch for the White Plains Central Business District. Danone is planning to bring 400 employees  to the new site, with a projected 150 additional jobs within the next five years.

Danone said in a press release that the decision to move to downtown White Plains recognizes that “today’s talent prefer to be in an open and flexible working environment that inspires creativity and inclusiveness.”

“We want as much open space as possible to maintain the sense of community we currently have, to encourage informal and ad hoc communication, and to ensure as much freedom and autonomy as possible in an energetic and exciting workplace,” said Dessislava Miteva, the company’s chief people officer and VP of human resources. “Additionally, being within walking distance to restaurants, shopping and mass transit are important for our company.”

Once it moves in 2018, the company will occupy 80,000 square feet on the first and fourth floors of the 240,000-square-foot building on the corner of Maple Avenue and Bloomingdale Road. Danone’s food laboratory will be at street-level and allow people to view the production of small yogurt samples. Danone also plans to develop another 23,000 square feet of space on the fourth floor.

The building is already home to Whole Foods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, The Cheesecake Factory and Raymour and Flanigan, among other office and retail tenants. The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors moved its offices to a 16,000-square-foot space on the fourth floor in 2016.

As part of the move, Danone will receive $1.273 million in sales tax exemptions from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency. The company will spend about $30 million on renovations for the space, representatives told the IDA board in October.

The company will also receive state funds from Empire State Development through its Excelsior Jobs Program and Capital Grant program.

Danone told the Westchester IDA in October that it had also been exploring space in Fairfield County before choosing downtown White Plains.

The move will likely leave behind a gap in Greenburgh, where Danone has rented space at 100 Hillside Ave. since 2003. The property is owned by Alfred Weissman Real Estate LLC, a Rye-based real estate owner and developer. A representative from Alfred Weissman declined to comment Wednesday.

When Danone’s likely move was first reported in October, Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner wrote a letter encouraging the company to stay.

“If they do leave, we will work with Mr. Weissman to try to find a suitable use for the property,” Feiner told the Business Journal in October. “But Dannon has been a fantastic neighbor and it has been a great location and good relationship, so obviously we were disappointed.”

The Source at White Plains is owned by Bloomingdale Road Investors LLC, a unit of the Swiss global financial firm UBS. The group bought the building in 2005 for $153 million. The building was originally constructed as a collaboration between Fortunoff, a home and jewelry retailer, and New York City developer R-Squared LLC. Fortunoff went bankrupt in 2009 and shortly after closed its White Plains location.

The terms of the lease for Danone have not yet been finalized, according to a Danone North America spokesperson.

Before approving the application from Danone, White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach said he was pleased to welcome a new “community partner.”

“It’s a corporation which has an outstanding reputation, an outstanding history and is locked squarely in the healthy food and wellness movement,” Roach said. “So we are very excited and proud to have Danone join our group of community partners we already have in the city and look forward to working with them in the future.”

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