By PHIL NOBILE
Backed by Republican West-chester County Executive Rob Astorino, the international headquarters for MasterCard will see renovations and expansions to the Purchase property within the upcoming year thanks to a joint initiative.
Expected to begin in the first quarter of 2014 and continue for six years, the plan was supported by Astorino, who announced the initiative on Dec. 12, and praised the organization for retaining its home.
“The fact that MasterCard has chosen to reinvest and expand here is proof of Westchester’s highly-skilled workforce, top-notch quality of life and business-friendly environment,” Ast-orino said. “I want to thank everyone at MasterCard for their confidence in Westchester.”
MasterCard made the agre-ement with the county’s Ind-ustrial Development Agency. The plan calls for renovations to the 475,000-square-foot headquarters at 2000 Purchase St. and expansion of MasterCard’s 107,000 square feet of leased office space at 100 Manhattanville Road. Jim Coleman, IDA executive director, praised Astorino for keeping MasterCard in the county, and advocated the potential economic benefits.
“When you have more employees in the county working, they’re going to make purchases and make the investment in Westchester, so everyone wins,” Coleman said.
According to MasterCard’s application for financial assistance from the county, the company will renovate the Purchase Street location by working on infrastructure and internal workspace, and improve their Manhattanville Road leased offices by adding 14,000 square feet to the building, pending the extension of eight years on their lease at the site, which was set to expire in 2017. Negotiations related to a lease extension are currently underway, according to a representative from MasterCard.
The result will be 270 new jobs over the course of five years at MasterCard’s Purchase locations as well as the construction jobs required to complete the two respective projects, according to the application. The company estimates the additional $40 million in new payroll will “contribute significantly to the local economy.” Estimated costs for the renovations at both sites sit at $39 million.
In its application, MasterCard told the county it may relocate to other parts of the country if an agreement wasn’t met.
“If assistance is not provided by the state or county, [MasterCard] will seek to explore other cost efficient locations in other jurisdictions…[MasterCard] currently has 500 consulting and sales employees who could be relocated out of Westchester County to a more cost effective location,” the application read.
Ultimately, the county agreed to MasterCard’s terms, giving a six year, $1.3 million dollars sales tax exemption on all supplies for the duration of the project, the only financial compensation the county contributed to the project. Coleman described the tax exemption as “far outweighing” the benefits brought from MasterCard retaining its residency in the county.
“We’re talking a very small percentage of it,” Coleman said. “If we lost 1,425 jobs here in Westchester it would be a blow to our retailers because of the purchasing power of the employees. It helps everyone here—from a sub shop to the dry cleaners.”
From this point, MasterCard will turn to the Town of Harrison, which controls jurisdiction for all Purchase projects, to begin the zoning and planning processes.
“I think it’s great that they’re expanding,” said Councilman Fred Sciliano, a Republican. “It shows that the economy is definitely picking up and that companies want to stay in Harrison.”
Purchase has been the site of MasterCard’s global headquarters since 1995, which employs 1,425 workers at its Westchester locations. The company was created in 1966.