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In Westchester, case study in proactive management.

The Westchester County office market is currently facing an approximate 20 percent vacancy rate, a factor which accounts for many casualties in the local stock of commercial real estate. Given this fact, the prudent management company must pro-actively focus on endeavors which continually re-position their properties for success.

In the case of the EastRidge Properties portfolio, comprised of 18 office buildings located in four office parks in Westchester County, we have recognized this reality--and acted on it. As Managing Agent for the entire portfolio, Albert B. Ashforth, Inc. has undertaken a number of important, aggressive programs that have helped us establish the buildings as stand-outs in the market.

First and foremost, EastRidge Properties initiated an unparalleled redevelopment plan. Using a combination of our management experience, market knowledge and input from our tenant base, we developed and launched a multi-million dollar capital improvement program and added amenities which distinguish the properties, and satisfy the varied needs of our tenants.

The changes and upgrades, which began just over a year ago, were immediately visible. Even as new amenities and services were being developed, the EastRidge Properties took on a new shine--literally, as the building materials (down to new signage) were polished, updated and enhanced. The exterior transformation also encompassed a major re-landscaping program, including the planting of more than 1,000 trees and shrubs, and the development of new pedestrian-friendly parks.

We at EastRidge recognize the importance of usable outdoor space in developing productive work environments. In creating attractive and inviting park areas for our tenants, we provided them with an amenity that is greatly sought--and yet seldom delivered in suburban markets.

While the exterior improvements were one of the first and most visible signs to the Westchester market that the portfolio was under transformation, it is the interior changes, including the establishment of a series of unique amenities and services, which have become EastRidge Properties' new trademark.

While large companies are usually able to provide many amenities for their employees, smaller tenants look to landlords and managers for atmosphere and work-enhancing extras. EastRidge Properties responded to this need, adding a commuter shuttle service, conference center facilities, sundry shops, a copy center/graphics studio, and other on-site services that include dry cleaning, video rentals, shoe shine/repair and car maintenance services. We also upgraded and expanded the existing food service, working with our caterer to provide appetizing and affordable meals to our tenants.

This comprehensive improvement program is far from over. We will continue to plan new park facilities, including a freestanding day care center and other programs to respond to our tenants' growing needs.
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Building Management & Maintenance; EastRidge Properties, Westchester County, New York
Author:Ziatyk, Michael J.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 6, 1993
Words:433
Previous Article:Outsourcing provides significant savings.
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