GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Change is in the Air

GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Change is in the Air
HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty

In the past two weeks we have finally been feeling that fall is in the air, and I keep taking deep gulps, filling my lungs. While I love every season, I think that Autumn is my favorite. The temperature becomes brisk, but not too cold. The leaves become shades of red and orange and gold. Every season marks a change, and personally I can’t imagine living in a location that didn’t have four seasons. I like the change of temperature (though I wouldn’t mind if winter was one or two months shorter), the change of scenery, the change of vegetation. The farmer’s markets are full of the apples and pears that have been ripening throughout the year.

I take Metro North to and from the city every day and walk the mile or so to my offices in White Plains. While the cityscape has been changing over the past several years, starting with the construction of City Center and the Towers at Renaissance Square, the change has truly accelerated over the last several months, with the construction of numerous rental buildings (one outside my window at work, unfortunately blocking my view), the construction of the Mitchell complex on Mamaroneck Avenue, the gutting and reconstruction of the old Esplanade Hotel and the AT&T building on South and North Broadway, and the demolition of the old White Plains Mall which will make way for the Hamilton Green project, just to name a few.

I have been with the association since 1984, starting at our long-time location at 59 South Broadway and then moving across the street to 60 South Broadway. Both locations have been razed and will rise again as new multi-family developments. How easy would it be to bemoan the changes taking place around us and harken back to the good old days, but the reality is that we often remember the good old days through rose-tinted glasses and ignore the current realities. The Esplanade Hotel, 59 South Broadway and the AT&T Building have been vacant for years, and the old White Plains Mall was in decrepit condition.

I mention all this construction activity not to take a walk down memory lane, but to touch on one of my most frequent themes in my articles for Real Estate In-Depth, change is inevitable. White Plains is growing, evolving, and adapting to new realities that face metropolitan geographies. I think we need to take a page out of the White Plains playbook. As I’ve said in the past, we need to get in front of change to help shape it and mold it to our benefit, as opposed to reacting to change when it’s already upon us.

This month HGAR and OneKey MLS released the 2022 third quarter market statistics, which certainly reflect a changing market, though, as I stated in the market commentary, the numbers are still strong when compared to 2019 and show remarkable resiliency. However, many economists are predicting a recession in 2023, debating the depth and duration of a potential recession. Now is not the time for panic. Now is the time to look for opportunities and hone our skills to not just survive, but thrive, and we can’t accomplish that unless we welcome change. We also need to focus on the long term. The changes that are occurring in White Plains right now have been in the planning stages for years and are just now coming to fruition.

Continuing with my theme on appreciating the four seasons, late summer and fall are the times when we experience the bounty of the harvest, but late fall and winter is when we order the seeds and plan what we will plant the following spring. Now is the time to do that planning. Change is in the air. Take advantage of it.

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