HGAR Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Real Estate In-Depth Newspaper

HGAR Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Real Estate In-Depth Newspaper

WHITE PLAINS – In 2021, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors celebrates the 25th anniversary of the launch of its flagship monthly newspaper Real Estate In-Depth and is also acknowledging the 95th consecutive year of publishing a membership newspaper/magazine.

In early 1995, based on the work of several Westchester County Board of Realtors’ committees, most notably the Communications and Long Range Planning Committees, then WCBR Executive Vice President (now retired) P. Gilbert Mercurio and the organization’s Board of Directors decided the Board needed to upgrade the editorial coverage of its then monthly newspaper Westchester Realtor. Along with newly hired Editor John Jordan and the newspaper’s longtime Graphic Design Consultant Bart D’Andrea of Meadow Art & Design, work began on formulating an editorial mission statement as well as renaming and redesigning the publication.

For just about a year, the publisher and newspaper staff discussed what news should be in the newspaper each month and how it should be presented. It was decided that due to the changing needs of its membership, the Board’s newspaper needed to expand from just covering Board-related news and announcements to a regional real estate publication that covered the major local, regional and national real estate and finance news of the day, as well as report on the activities of the association and its affiliated multiple listing service. The association also hired professional business photographer John Vecchiolla who has for the past quarter century provided professional and quality photography of news events and Board activities that has greatly enhanced the graphics of the newspaper.

After nearly 12 months of planning, Real Estate In-Depth was launched in January 1996. Its first edition chronicled the news of the day which included a report on fourth quarter home sales activity in Westchester County, an exclusive report on the appointment of then WCBR member Edwardina Lodes to the newly formed State Board of Real Estate and Governor Pataki pressing for the outright repeal of the much criticized “Cuomo Tax.” Every year, Real Estate In-Depth provides extensive coverage of the Annual Lobby Day event to keep members informed on key legislative proposals and initiatives in Albany that will benefit or hurt the industry. The newspaper also reports on the association’s legislative efforts in Washington, DC as well.

Since its launch, the newspaper has reported on the major real estate news and trends of the day, even scooped the dailies and the real estate trades press on occasion, while still serving as WCBR’s and later the Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors and now the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ flagship communications vehicle. The newspaper has grown from printing approximately 4,000 copies each month in 1996 to a press run in 2021 of more than 12,000 each edition. Thanks to a substantial increase in advertising support, the average size of an edition has grown from 20 pages in 1996 to 28 pages or more today.

WCBR’s Mercurio, in a Publisher’s Note in the first edition of Real Estate In-Depth explained the reasons behind the cessation of publication of Westchester Realtor in favor of Real Estate In-Depth. A quarter of a century later, his words still apply.

“WCBR felt that since the real estate industry is in the midst of a drastic change the Board’s monthly publication had to adapt to these tumultuous times… Our flagship communication vehicle has to mirror what is going on in the industry and inform membership of the latest news not only in Westchester, but the region, since many of our members do business outside the county,” Mercurio wrote in the January-February 1996 edition of Real Estate In-Depth.

“The sky is the limit with what we can do with this publication in the future,” Mercurio added. “WCBR asks its members and readership to patronize our advertisers who are supporting our effort to bring you the only real estate-oriented publication in the lower New York State region.”

Real Estate In-Depth Editor Jordan, who served as editor of Westchester Realtor in its last year of publication, said in a story published for the newspaper’s 10-year anniversary, “Real Estate In-Depth has grown from humble beginnings to a publication that is a must read for the WCBR membership and for other area real estate and finance industry officials alike. The tremendous surge in advertising support over the years is due in large part to the fact that the paper is so widely read by Realtors and other real estate and finance professionals. I would just like to thank and acknowledge the foresight of WCBR to realize that a newspaper of this type was possible and could be successful.

“For all who have lent a hand, written a column, sold an ad, purchased an ad, taken a picture, drawn a cartoon, worked on the paper’s design, written a letter to the editor or just offered a word of encouragement, my heartfelt thanks,” Jordan added.

Today, Jordan relates that his sentiments expressed 15 years ago still ring true. “I have been lucky and honored to work with a group of professionals (both staff and volunteer Directors and Officers) that believe in the mission of this publication and work hard to make sure each edition brings value and useful information to the membership and readership. We have flourished during the boom years and persevered during the recessions that dogged the real estate market here and across the country. In the past year, we have chronicled the devastating health and economic impacts the coronavirus pandemic has had on the nation and the region and the real estate industry’s admirable response that has fueled much needed economic activity in such trying times.”

He noted that the publication’s success has been due in large part to HGAR’s leadership, including the aforementioned Mercurio and current HGAR CEO Richard Haggerty, as well as the association’s leadership and Board of Directors over the past quarter century that has believed in and supported the newspaper’s mission.

For 25 years, the newspaper staff and contributors have strived to present an accurate and at times “In-Depth” view of the major news and trends affecting real estate here and across the nation in the publication’s print edition and at the newspaper’s interactive newspaper website at www.realestateindepth.com.

Some Major News Stories in Past 25 Years


Pataki Presses for Repeal of Cuomo Tax
Flat Tax Proposal Proves Controversial
Donald Trump to Build Golf Courses in County But Backs Out of Davids Island Project
Westchester Realtors Richard Albert and Edwardina Lodes Named to Newly Formed State Board of Real Estate
Pataki Vows to Veto Westchester’s Property Revaluation Bill


Office Developer Robert Martin Merges with Cali Corp.
WPMLS Signs Contract with Maestro
Westchester-Putnam Home Listings Go Online @ Realtor.com


Texaco to Lease Out Part of HQ Building in Harrison
Collins Enterprises to Develop Yonkers Waterfront


Hurricane Floyd Ravages Parts of County


GM Plan in Sleepy Hollow Delayed Again
WCBR Introduces WCBR.Net (Members-only website)
WPMLS Approves Internet-based MLS System
Tishman Speyer Pulls Out of White Plains Project


XMLSWeb Launched
Realtors Expect Slowdown to Take Hold After Terrorist Attacks


WCBR’s Savo Fries Installed as NYSAR President

XMLSWeb Goes Online
Home Sales Break $500,000 Price Barrier



Galleria and Westchester Pavilion Malls Sold
Fortunoff Opens $93 Million Development in White Plains
Forest City Ratner Proposes $600 Million Project in Yonkers


Realtors Score Quick KO of Property Transfer Tax Bill
RPW Buys Altria Complex in Rye Brook for $40 Million


Supreme Court Ruling Sparks Cries for Changes in Eminent Domain Law
Realtors Outraged Over Federal Tax Reform Plan
Realtors Prepare for Soft Landing


2005 Home Sales Sets New Record in Westchester County
Storms Cause Significant Damage to Homes, Businesses in Westchester
Classic Residence by Hyatt Shelves $350 Million Senior Development
$160 Million Trump Plaza Project (in New Rochelle) ‘Topped Off’
$100M Biomedical Project Planned at Landmark at Eastview Complex


Westchester Home Sales Dropped 13% in 2006
Yonkers Desegregation Case Nears End
$1 Billion Office Project in White Plains Shelved
Legislature Passes Education Bill, Enacts Local Transfer Tax
Controversial $600M Ridge Hill Project Breaks Ground
New Castle Considers Scaled Down Plan for Redevelopment of Reader’s Digest


GM Searches for New Developer for Lighthouse Landing
$1.5 Billon Yonkers Waterfront Plan Clears Hurdle
WCBR Moves to New Home in White Plains
Housing Correction Continues in Second Quarter
New Tappan Zee Bridge to Cost $16 Billion


Fortunoff Store in White Plains to Close
Realtor Reaction Mixed to Obama Stimulus Plans
Westchester, Putnam Realtor Boards to Merge
Mayor Delfino Reflects on White Plains Renaissance
Realtors Believe Recession Hasn’t Run its Course
Reader’s Digest Looks to Move HQ to NYC
Westchester to Spend $50 Million to Settle Fair Housing Court Case


Henry Fries Takes Over as 2010 NYSAR President
Westchester Releases Fair Housing Plan
Feds, Monitor Still Critical of County’s Fair Housing Plan
Realtors Conflicted on Direction of Home Sales Market


Board Directors Approve Staff Transition Plan: Mercurio to Retire, Haggerty to Succeed Him
Experts Predict a Slow-Motion Real Estate Recovery
County Executive Calls for End of Tappan Zee Bridge Study
Astorino: HUD Says Housing Settlement Cost Has No Ceiling
Pols, Business Leaders Press for Mass Transit to Be Part of New Tappan Zee Bridge Plan
Three Boards Approve Merger to Create New Realtor Association


(Real Estate) In-Depth Goes Digital
Richard Haggerty Appointed CEO of Newly-Formed HGAR
County Executive Diana Proposes New $75-Million Government Center
Reports: Disney Publishing to Close White Plains Operations
HGAR Members Travel to D.C. To ‘Protect the American Dream
Life Time Fitness Breaks Ground On $40M Project in Harrison
PepsiCo to Begin $240M Upgrade of Corporate Headquarters
Region Struggles to Recover From Hurricane Sandy


New Tappan Zee to Cost About $4B to Build
Rep. Maloney Pledges Support for Mortgage Interest Deduction
Economic Development Takes Center Stage in Putnam
Investors Eying New Uses Along I-287
City (Yonkers) Scraps $3 Billion SFC Project


GM Picks Developer for Former Sleepy Hollow Plant
HGAR’s Endres Installed as 2014 NYSAR President
Rockland County Working with Novartis To Find New User for Suffern Plant
First Quarter Home Sales Rise Nearly 11% in HGAR Region
Neuhaus Tackles Budget Deficit, Valley View, Casinos, Government Center at CID Session
President Obama Visits TZ Bridge Site; Warns of Transportation Funding Crisis
22 Players Pay $1 Million for Casino Rights in NYS
PSC Orders Utility to Stop Pursuit of Desalination Plant in Haverstraw


PepsiCo to Vacate Somers Complex in 2016
Exclusive: Westchester Pavilion Mall to be Sold to Make Way for $275 Million Project
HGAR to Move Headquarters to The Source at White Plains
Annexation Votes Set Off Flurry of Lawsuits by Municipalities, Orange County, Kiryas Joel


$1.2B Bioscience Project Unveiled in Westchester
Hospital for Special Surgery to Establish Outpatient Center at Former IBM Building
Construction Work to Finally Begin on Orange County Government Center
Chappaqua Crossing Project Finally Breaks Ground
RXR Partnership Proposes $120M Tower in New Rochelle
GM Redevelopment Finally Breaks Ground 20 Years After Assembly Plant Closure
IBM to Vacate, Sell Somers Campus
$500M Legoland Project Proposed in Goshen
HGAR Cuts Ribbon on New Corporate Headquarters Offices
HGAR Approves Merger with Manhattan Association of Realtors
Regeneron Plans 1 Million-Square-Foot Expansion


HGAR Makes History with Dorothy Botsoe Installation
Gov. Cuomo’s Deal with Entergy to Shut Down Indian Point Fuels Mixed Local Reaction
Urstadt Biddle Sells Westchester Pavilion for Nearly $57 Million
Simone Cuts Ribbon on $35 Million Boyce Thompson Project
Western Span of New Mario M. Cuomo Bridge Opens for Traffic
Orange County Legislature Approves Town of Palm Tree Referendum Vote
Ridge Hill Shopping Center to be Acquired by Australian Real Estate Investment Firm


Toll Brothers Acquires Out Parcels at Former GM Assembly Plant
Resorts World Catskills Casino Resort Opens
Rockland Legislature Passes Co-Op Purchase Reform Bill
Orange County Partnership Leads Coalition on Route 17 Initiative
HGAR, LIBOR Boards Sign Key Agreement to Create Regional MLS Next Year
Controversial CPV Valley Plant in Orange County Goes Online
Group Looks to Convert IBM Somers Campus to STEM School
Westchester County Executive Latimer Signs Co-Op Transparency Bill


99-Year Lease Deal Brings $1.2B Bioscience Park Closer to Reality
Pioneer Westchester Developer to Reacquire Storied Portfolio in $488 Million Mega Deal
Con Ed Gas Moratorium for Westchester in Effect; State Offers New Clean Energy Plan
Redevelopment of Goshen Retail Eyesore to Move Forward
Entergy to Sell Indian Point to Decommissioning Firm
Westchester Terminates Rye Playland Contract with Standard Amusements
White Plains Hospital Breaks Ground on $272M Expansion Project
NY Developers Acquire Troubled United Hospital Property
$100M Film Studio to Be Developed at iPark Complex in Yonkers
Jehovah’s Witnesses Propose 1.5 Million-Square-Foot Production Complex in Ramapo
Montefiore to Open Major Primary Care Facility in Elmsford


OneKey MLS Leaders Tout Merits of New NYC Regional MLS
Gov. Cuomo Puts State’s Real Estate Industry ‘On Pause’ to Prevent Further Spread of Coronavirus Pandemic
State Comptroller Pegs Coronavirus Impact Between $4 Billion to More Than $7 Billion
State Clarifies Position on Property Showings—Can Only be Performed Online
Real Estate Industry Finally Reopens-Mid-Hudson Enters Phase Two of Economy Reopening
OneKey MLS Now Live for Consumers
NY State’s New Fair Housing Regulations Now in Effect
HGAR Membership Overwhelmingly Approves Merger with Bronx Manhattan North Association
NYC Brokers Discuss COVID, Market Activity, ‘Black Lives Matter’
New Rochelle Mayor Shares COVID Impacts on Development Projects, City Finances
Curtain Closes on Iconic Westchester Broadway Theatre
Real Estate Experts Predict Continued Economic Rebound in 2021

Regular Contributors to Newspaper (2021)

Richard Haggerty, writer, columnist, publisher
John Jordan, writer, editor
Bart D’Andrea, art director
John Vecchiolla, photography
John Dolgetta, legal columnist

Ann Garti, editing
Mary Prenon, contributing writer, advertising sales
Brian Levine, columnist
Jennifer Maher, columnist
Philip Weiden, legislative columnist
John Vrooman, technology columnist
Jessica Mandakas, membership
Vicki D’Agostino, education
Lisa Andrade, education
Michelle Gillard, editing, print, web
Roseanne Lionetti, RPAC, Calendar
Cathleen Stack, marketing
Gary Connolly, circulation
Vicki Gonzales, accounting
Jennifer Andriach, accounting

Other Contributors

Derek Alger, writer (deceased)
Adrienne Cardona, circulation, mailing
Marianna Nichols, circulation
David Arnold, advertising
Harriet Lerner, writer, advertising sales
Mike Dardano, advertising
Maria Laidley, advertising
Myron Miller, editorial cartoonist
Julian Block, tax columnist
Edward I. Sumber, legal columnist (deceased)
Linda Sands, technology columnist
Donald Arace, mortgage columnist
Irene Amato, mortgage columnist
Jeff Strauss, mortgage columnist
Edna Haber, mortgage columnist
Jeff Pardes, mortgage columnist
Robert Withers, commercial finance columnist
P. Gilbert Mercurio, writer, columnist
Teri Vitaliani, Membership, RPAC, Calendar (deceased)
Eileen Taus, education
Leah Warncke, advertising bill processing

WCBR/WPAR/HGAR Presidents 1996-2021

1996 – Arthur G. McCartney (deceased)
1997 – Ron Reid (deceased)
1998 – Savo Fries
1999 – Savo Fries
2000 – Marilyn Pfaller (deceased)
2001 – Donna Tierney (deceased)
2002 – Carol Kope
2003 – Carol Kope
2004 – Carol Kope
2005 – J.P. Endres
2006 – J.P. Endres
2007 – Harding Mason
2008 – Harding Mason
2009 – Leah Caro
2010 – Leah Caro
2011 – Michael Graessle
2012 – Nancy Kennedy
2013 – Katheryn DeClerck
2014 – Diane Cummins
2015 – Drew Kessler
2016 – Marcene Hedayati
2017 – Dorothy Botsoe
2018 – Barry Kramer
2019 – Ron Garafalo
2020 – Gail Fattizzi
2021 – Crystal Hawkins Syska (President-elect)

WCBR/WPAR/HGAR Realtor of the Year 1996-2020

1996 – Antoinette Emerson (deceased)
1997 – Nancy Kennedy
1998 – Maggie Reid
1999 – M. Donna Conte
2000 – Jacqueline Natchev
2001 – Carol Kope
2002 – Donna Tierney (deceased)
2003 – Catherine Amabile
2004 – J.P. Endres
2005 – Kevin O’Shea
2006 – Patricia Bentley
2007 – Pat Held
2008 – Lori Ragette
2009 – Harding Mason
2010 – John Kope
2011 – Leah Caro
2012 – Dorothy Botsoe
2013 – Marcene Hedayati
2014 – Carol Christiansen
2015 – Maryann Tercasio
2016 – Gary Leogrande
2017 – Barry Kramer
2018 – Renee Zurlo
2019 – Bonnie Koff
2020 – Joe Rand

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