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IBM's Planned Exit From Somers 'Isn't A Shock,' Town Supervisor Says

An entrance sign for IBM's Somers campus
An entrance sign for IBM's Somers campus Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
IBM's Somers campus features office buildings with pyramid-shaped tops. The buildings are pictured in a view from Goldens Bridge.
IBM's Somers campus features office buildings with pyramid-shaped tops. The buildings are pictured in a view from Goldens Bridge. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

SOMERS, N.Y. -- Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey confirmed previous reports this week that IBM plans to leave town, with a departure set for next year.

"I have recently been notified that IBM plans to sell their Somers facility and relocate workers to their North Castle property by March of 2017," Morrissey wrote in a Facebook post for the community. "An email sent to employees describes the move as an effort to promote engagement and community connections."

News of the tech giant's departure is not a surprise for Morrissey, who notes that IBM has cut its staffing presence and has gotten its property taxes lowered.

"While this is unwelcome news, it isn’t a shock. As many people may know, IBM has been maintaining a fraction of the headcount they once had in Somers, and over the past few years have essentially moth-balled some of their buildings on the property," the supervisor wrote. "During this time the Town has worked with IBM to lower their real estate taxes in order to reflect the reduced use of their property and facilities, but the situation always seemed to point in their eventual departure from the site."

IBM did not return a message seeking comment.

The company's campus is located on a large parcel that is has entrances and exits on Route 100, Route 116 and Route 138. The campus' buildings, which have pyramid-shaped tops, can be seen from vantage points in Goldens Bridge and Carmel, among others.

Morrissey also sought to assure the public that loss of IBM will not blow a hole through the local tax base.

"Fortunately, through years of strong financial planning, the Town is well positioned moving forward and we are committed to preserving low tax rates for our residents. In the short term this will have a minimal impact on the Town as IBM will continue to pay real estate taxes on their property until it is sold, at which point the new owners will be responsible for the taxes."

The loss of IBM is the second major blow to Somers, which for year played host to two major corporations. PepsiCo announced last year that it would exit from its campus, which is located by Route 35 and Route 100, and move staff to facilities in Purchase and White Plains.

The campus, which PepsiCo leased from a subsidiary of MHP Real Estate Services, was purchased last year for nearly $87 million by an entity called One P Way, LLC, a company linked to Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim.

An IBM campus sale would likely dwarf the PepsiCo campus transaction. The town's most recent assessment roll gives the main property a full-market value of almost $125 million, which is an estimate of what it is worth.

The property, according to the roll, is roughly 723 acres and has an assessed value (the number that is subject to property taxation) of more than $16 million.

IBM also owns a nearby parcel of vacant land, which has a full-market value of nearly $800,000 and is just under 24 acres. The vacant parcel's assessed (taxable) value is $103,400.

IBM owns the campus, plus the vacant parcel, through a subsidiary called New Somers II, LLC.

In a statement, Westchester County Association President and CEO William Mooney highlighted a shift towards more people working remotely as linked to the planned departure.

“The news from IBM is not a surprise, especially in light of a growing trend in the New Economy for people to work remotely. This is true of the giant multinational companies to the smallest entrepreneurial firms. Now that Westchester is embracing Smart Growth, this provides a good opportunity for us to rethink how commercial space is used as we move forward."

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