Echo Bay Revised Development Proposed to New Rochelle City Council

The project will replace the current City Yard on East Main Street.

The site of the current City Yard on East Main Street could—in the future—have 300 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail space.

There are a lot of "ifs" to the process, including who the developer will actually be, where and when the City Yard will move and what will be the fate of the Armory.

Representatives from Forest City Residential Group presented their latest vision of how the site could be developed at a recent meeting of the City Council.

The city granted Forest City in January a 60-day extension to a memorandum of understanding so that it could examine studies paid for by Forest City, but conducted by the city.

Abe Naparstek, Forest City Residential's vice president, said that the economic downturn forced the project to "take a pause."

But he said his company knows more about Echo Bay than anyone else.

Naparstek also said it was "not in our company's DNA to give up.

"We will figure out how to make it work," he said.

The presentation, attached to this article, calls for 250 to 300 apartments, 25,000 square feet of retail space along East Main Street and five acres of public land.

The housing would be predominantly one bedrooms with some studios and two bedrooms, said Armand S. Quadrini, principal and director, KSQ Architects PC.

He said the footprint of the housing would be in the shape of a "P."

"One of the aspects of the 'P' is creating a flanking edge that guides you down to the water," Quadrini said, maximizing the public open space of the project.

The last plan from 2008, found here on the City's Web site, was much more ambitious than what was just presented.

That one proposed 600 luxury apartments, 100,000 square feet of "small shop" retail, 62 waterfront town houses, 42 condominiums and a 15,000 square-foot community building. The development would have required the demolition of the Armory.

Naparstek said the fate of the Armory would lie with the City. He said the parcel needs to remain accessible to the public because of a deed restriction.

"[W]e don't predetermine what will happen to the Armory," he said, adding that his plan was to let the building have whatever fate it is destined to have.

"I think it could become a great restaurant/retail space if you find the right tenant," Naparstek said.

He did propose demolishing the annex portion of the Armory, leaving the iconic tower. The rationale would be to open up the view corridor to the water.

Councilman Albert Tarentino, R-District 2, asked whether the developer would consider rethinking such a massive decline in retail space—from 100,000 square feet in 2008 to 25,000 in the current version.

Naparstek said those numbers were a reflection on the realties of the business.

"The last thing I want to see are empty storefronts," he said.

The next step for the City Council will be to consider a new memorandum of understanding with Forest City Residential so that it could begin the environmental review process, something the developer would be financing itself.

Martin Sanchez March 16, 2012 at 11:07 AM
"He did propose DEMOLISHING the annex portion of the Armory, leaving the iconic tower. The rationale would be to open up the view corridor to the water". Need we say more! No additional MOU's please. Clean and refurbish the City Yard.
Wendy East End March 16, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Why are there so many apartments in this plan, and what happened to the boardwalk and views of the bay?? We already have too many apartments available in the Avalon, and Trump tower - why build more? Is there a plan to expand the schools with all these extra families coming into this area?
Aunt Sandy March 16, 2012 at 01:26 PM
This PDF does not open the latest plan, it is an invitation to a fund raising event. Patch, can you upload the latest plan?
Thomas Koshy March 16, 2012 at 02:15 PM
It appears that we have shortage of apartments in New Rochelle! Mayor & Council should put in their efforts to bring in small and big businesses so that this City can prosper. Look at what businesses have turned White Plains into mini-Manhattan. More apartments means more schools at the cost of city residents. Thomas Koshy
Billy L March 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
What the city needs to realize is that it's more than the fact that the armory site needs to be kept open to the public, but the deed restriction also makes it clear the building cannot be torn down. The armory was entrusted to the city by the state of NY and if the building is torn down the deed would revert back to the state, as I understand it.
Billy March 16, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Ever notice the size of the project keeps getting smaller and smaller with NO commitments to move forward on the subsequent phases? That's because Forest City would actually have to lay out (as in expense) money to buy those properties, where the plan now is to only use donated city land and to top it all off the project won't pay ANY property taxes during my lifetime. Another financial disaster in the making. It would be one thing to do this if city hall had its finances in order, but since we all received 10+% tax increases in another budget filled with 1 shot revenue gimmicks I'd say the city's finances are teetering on collapse so how does this get paid for? Taxpayers currently footing the bill can no longer afford to pay for these kinds of giveaways. When does the linsanity end?
Michael Woyton (Editor) March 16, 2012 at 07:31 PM
It's fixed now. Thanks.
Stephen I. Mayo March 16, 2012 at 08:11 PM
"[W]e don't predetermine what will happen to the Armory," he said, adding that his plan was to let the building have whatever fate it is destined to have.." (Abe Naparstek, Forest City VP). I am willing to give anyone or any lawful business enterprise a fair chance (and Forest City have been give "gobfuls" of chances) but do you think Naparstek could show just a shred of sensitivity to the concerns of city residents to preserving the Armory physical plant? (Never mind the "spirit" of so hallowed an edifice as the Armory for many generations of New Rochelle and Westchester families; intangibles like honor, tradition and memory apparently being lost on business enterprises and their factotums!) Are Forest City and its employees so tone-deaf, so totally tuned out to the interests of local residents for some meaningful preservation of a meaningful portion (not just a trace amount) of the historic building? FC's willingness to "let the building have whatever fate it is destined to have" seems a cold way to deal with the issues don't you think? (Are these unguarded comments, guarded comments? It really doesn't matter anymore!) and do not portend a happy future of discussions/negotiations between the involved parties.
Billy March 16, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I think the issue of the Armory is destined for the courts as the Save Our Armory folks aren't going to relent on the issue and the deed restrictions are specific about the use of the building. I hope they pick an excellent attorney as we know New Rochelle & Forest City have deep pockets. Still I'd like to know if the Armory could handle an ice rink? Since the city let Cappelli close the NewRoc rink, the community's been missing an ce rink and there are no concrete plans to build 1 anywhere. Think of all the business that would stimulate for New Rochelle.
Billy March 16, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Notice how all the pictures in the project show the water. These are high tide depictions. High tide is the only way water can be seen at the site, otherwise at low tide these are what's called mud flats & I highly doubt Forest City is planning to dredge the harbor. That would be much too much money.
James Fleming March 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Not the geatest site plan for the property shown here, the plan completely ignores exploitable view corridors, attractive pedestrian accessand ignores existing street patterns, effectively removing this waterfront resource from the accessiblity odf the rest of the residents of the City. Plans for the armory really have to consider the impact of an event center attacting crowds on the immedirate exisitng neighborhood directly across the street.This small neck of Main Street would be be hard pressed to handle parking and traffic for the site.


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