P’ville Celebrates Opening of Henckels’ New HQ on Marble Ave.
For years, it was easy to understand the frustration of Pleasantville residents and officials who wondered whether anything productive would ever become of the lifeless lot at 270 Marble Ave.
Last Tuesday, the village celebrated the critically important and highly visible property’s return to prominence with the official grand opening of Zwilling J.A. Henckels’ new state-of-the-art building that now serves as the high-end cutlery firm’s U.S. headquarters.
Henckels, based in Germany, had outgrown its offices and warehouse space on Route 9A in Hawthorne and bought the property to erect the building on the former MLA property. The structure is more than three times the size of the old location, said company CFO John Henkels.
Having more space was one important consideration, he said, but constructing a comfortable and inviting building for the 140 employees that was environmentally efficient and easily accessible was also crucial.
“It wasn’t just to have a much bigger facility,” said the company’s CFO John Henkels. “It’s also to have a great working environment. You see as you walk through you have all this big open space, a lot of natural light, so it gets people feeling more energetic from the start.”
The building has more than four million cubic feet of space, up from the 1.2 million cubic feet it had in Hawthorne. About 22,000 square feet is for offices, up from 13,000 square feet at the previous location.
Henkels said the roof is covered in solar panels, which should make it energy neutral and one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Westchester.
The company moved to the Pleasantville site in stages. Its new logistics center, where much of their shipments are received and sent out, opened two years ago, Henkels said. Office staff moved over between August 2014 and last April, he said.
One of the building’s most enticing features is the large cooking studio where the company plans to hold cooking classes for the public as well as host parties and corporate events, said Joanna Rosenberg, Henckels’ vice president of marketing.
She said the studio was designed so while the 285-year-old company conducts its day-to-day operations it can interact with the community as well.
“Just all sorts of things where people can work together, eat together, drink together,” Rosenberg said.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the project is what it means for the village, which had seen the property unused for 15 years. The Medical Laboratory Associates building sat empty until it was torn down by Zwilling J.A. Henckels to make room for the new structure.
Stop & Shop had bought the property in 2001 with the hopes of opening a supermarket at the site, but intense community opposition contributed to the rejection of that project.
Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce President William Flooks said Henckels’ arrival opens a new chapter for the village.
“We’ve always talked about the Marble Avenue corridor being the cornerstone of the entrance to Pleasantville,” said Flooks. “And as you see here today, this is going to be the cornerstone of the Marble Avenue corridor.”
The company had first eyed the property in 2007, Henkels said, but that was soon followed by the recession, which put a hold on relocation plans. In 2011, the company acquired the property.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/