Avison Young opened its Fairfield/Westchester office in 2014 to expand the company’s market presence in the northeast. The Fairfield/Westchester operations’ integrated platform includes best-in-class expertise and support across all industry sectors, including tenant representation, landlord representation, capital markets, property management and project management.
With great proximity and easy access to New York City, Connecticut’s Fairfield County and New York’s Westchester County are essentially suburban New York City, providing their residents with the features of urban life in a suburban landscape. Fairfield County, located in the southwestern corner of Connecticut, is the most densely populated county of Connecticut and is home to the headquarters of companies such as Xerox, FactSet, Boehringer Ingelheim and Frontier Communications. Westchester County, located in southern New York, is the seventh most populated county of New York and is home to the headquarters of companies such as IBM, MasterCard, PepsiCo and Heineken.
Due to their proximity to New York City, Fairfield County’s approximately 42 million square feet of office space and Westchester County’s approximately 30 million square feet of office space have been a popular alternative for companies to establish their corporate headquarters. Historically, this resulted in a high concentration of headquarters in the area, including many Fortune 500 companies. However, the Fairfield and Westchester markets are growing more and more diverse as numerous companies continue to enter the market, including several TAMI (technology, advertising, media, and information) companies such as Indeed.com, the world’s largest job search site. This transition is reflective of recent repurposing of office inventory that has transformed large single tenant buildings into multi-tenant buildings. Furthermore, both counties are experiencing a rapidly growing healthcare and life sciences presence, which is evident with the recent expansion of biotechnology leader Regeneron.
Fairfield County and Westchester County’s rich network of well-traveled regional and state highways as well as a population with some of the highest per capita incomes in the country makes them a sought after location for retail sectors, from department stores to restaurants to specialty stores. Restrictions on land use at the local level provide a barrier to entry into the retail sectors of both markets in order to balance the high demand to be in the market with the small retail inventory, which comprises approximately 8.9 million square feet in Fairfield County and 7.9 million square feet in Westchester County. Major retail centers, such as Fairfield County’s Stamford Town Center and Westfield Trumbull Shopping Center or Westchester County’s The Westchester and Galleria Mall, provide consumers with upscale and affordable retail options alike. These major retail centers are complemented by both downtown and pedestrian-friendly retail clusters where flagship stores for major retailers are often located, such as those in areas like Greenwich, Westport, Yonkers and White Plains.
The industrial markets of Fairfield County and Westchester County are relatively healthy due to historical declining inventory as well as a lack of new construction. The high cost of land, zoning restrictions and competition for higher and better uses result in little new supply being proposed or built. Primary users of the Fairfield and Westchester counties’ industrial inventory are high-tech research and development companies, service companies, healthcare/life sciences companies, and delivery companies, including e-commerce. With such constrained inventory for modern, functional industrial space, tenants are left with few options and, as a result, these markets achieve some of the country’s highest lease rates for industrial and flex space in a suburban market.
Due to their proximity to New York City, prime location in the center of major northeastern markets, multitude of national and international tenants, and affluent central business districts, the Fairfield and Westchester counties are sought after markets for investors. Particularly active are the multi-family and mixed-use investment markets; cities such as Stamford, Norwalk, White Plains and Yonkers have seen record investments in multi-family and mixed-use properties, particularly new construction. From 2013 through 2016, over 4,000 residential units have been added to the two markets and ongoing demand has resulted in numerous projects being planned and proposed for traditional apartments as well as senior housing and assisted living. A recent trend has been that developers are selling these assets to large, institutional investors and REITs as soon as construction has been completed.