Why Westchester Is the Newest Millennial Hotspot

A rendering of Yonkers' forthcoming 1177@Greystone development.Westchester used to be little more than a backwater with more land and better schools. During the past few years, however, millennials priced out of New York City have been heading there in droves, and developers have responded, investing in mixed-use luxury rental buildings near transit stations in such towns as Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains, Sleepy Hollow, and Ossining. But no place has seen more recent growth than Yonkers, where roughly 4,000 new rental units will be released over the next eight years or so. “Five years ago, Yonkers was still recovering from the 2008 fiscal crisis, and there wasn’t much activity,” says Wilson Kimball, the city’s commissioner of planning and development, who credits the Generation Yonkers ad campaign, launched to attract millennials to the area, and Mayor Mike Spano’s “we’re open for business” mantra with drawing young professionals and A-list developers from New York. “There was a real turnaround. Now people are moving to Yonkers from the city, upstate, New Jersey, and Connecticut, because we’re affordable and only 25 minutes away from Manhattan.”

Projects currently under construction include the 330-unit River Tides at Greystone (opening this summer), the 55-unit 1177@Greystone (fall), and the 440-unit Larkin Plaza (late 2018). “As prices increase in the city, people are going to go where they can enjoy an urban lifestyle, access to Manhattan, and reasonable rents,” says Seth Pinsky, executive vice president for Larkin Plaza’s development firm, RXR, which expects the majority of its tenants to be young professionals and empty nesters looking to downsize. Additionally, “half of the 18- to 34-year-olds in Westchester are living with their parents, and many people are living in  subpar rental buildings. We want to help revitalize these communities.”