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Main Street Core Project Outlined to New Rochelle City Council

At completion, the transit-oriented development could add 550 housing units and 8,000 square feet of retail to the city.

A proposed development could bring changes to New Rochelle's downtown area, including a replacement for the dilapidated Church Street parking lot.

Representatives from the Garden City-based Albanese Organization, Inc., briefed the New Rochelle City Council Tuesday on revised plans for a transit-oriented development where the Prospect and Church street parking lots currently are located.

Albanese President Russell Albanese said his firm has been focusing on walking communities and green buildings.

"I'm very excited about New Rochelle," he said, "and can see the great potential about what has been happening here in recent years."

Executive Vice President George Aridas said the goals of the Main Street Core property would be to extend revitalization south of Main Street by creating a vibrant mixed-use community, while increasing the tax base over time and addressing parking demands and related issues.

"In terms of the phasing," he said, "we want to remain responsible to the financial markets," adding that construction would be planned to build momentum in the project.

The initial phase, Aridas said, would begin with the construction of a five-level parking garage on the site of the current Prospect Street lot, that would contain about 360 covered parking spaces, plus about 180 street level spaces.

"Simultaneous to that, we will begin construction on the first building," he said, a mixed-used rental housing building along South Division Street with 106 units. The 60 percent of the units would be at market rate, with the remaining at workforce housing levels. Eventually the breakdown of housing would be 80 percent a market rate.

At that point, Aridas said, construction could begin on a seven-level parking structure with 570 spaces that would replace the Church Street facility.

"As that is nearing completion," he said, "we would start construction on the residential building."

Aridas said it was too early to determine whether those units, located north of the parking facility on Division, would be for sale or rent, but the 23-24 story building would have about 230 apartments.

He said additional mixed-use buildings would be constructed to lessen the visible impact of the parking structures.

Town homes along Prospect Street would be the final construction of the project.

At completion, Aridas said, there would be 550 housing units, plus a little over 1,200 parking spaces. There would be about 8,000 square feet of retail.

Development Commissioner Michael Friemuth said the project would provide revenue to the city as the different parking lots are sold.

"The scenario for development, we believe is consistent with downtown goals," he said, "and it deals with what is an incredible headache, that is the Church Street garage."

Mayor Noam Bramson asked the developers how this project would improve the city.

Albanese said that it would complete the neighborhood and that the Church Street garage and the open Prospect lot now disconnect New Rochelle residents from the commercial aspect of the area.

"One of the things a transit-oriented development does is put people on the street walking up to the trains," he said. "This will bring pedestrian traffic through the core."

Aridas said the state-required environmental review process could start as soon as April and be completed by June 2013. Construction could start in the third quarter of 2013, taking 15-17 months to finish the first phase.

Friemuth said the next step would be for the council to consider a memorandum of understanding that would enable Albanese to begin the environmental review process.

He said such a document could be ready for the council's review in February.

Billy January 11, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Rather than come up with these pie in the sky ideas, the city council should focus on the basics, like paving streets and garbage collection. What NR doesn't need are another 550 housing units. Where are all those kids going to go to school? NR is so short sighted sometimes it amazes me.
Billy L January 11, 2012 at 06:48 PM
This city is going down the WRONG road. We don't need any more residential development....WE NEED COMMERCIAL development. That's what boosted White Plains, an even mix of residential and commercial development. Does the city council and the mayor really think what they are doing is improving the quality of life in New Rochelle? It's not. All the people I know and speak to say the quality of life is going down. The mayor is not a bad guy, he just doesn't know how to properly run a city and he is going a really bad job. The city is bankrupt...DOES EVERYONE KNOW THAT? That's the reason they raised the garbage FEE 338% and circumvented the tax cap...because they need money. It ALL went into the general fund because they are BROKE. The garbage will go up again next year, it's already being talked about. How much more can the citizens take before people start leaving in droves? My family has lived in New Rochelle since 1907 and now I may not be able to raise my own kids here. That, to me, is very sad.
newrochellesouth January 11, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Tax Abatements Tax Abatements Tax Abatements The last time the city gave a developer free reign homeowners were left to pay for the schooling of the new residents for the next 30 years. 80 students in Avalon I at @$20,000/year = $1,600,000. For 30 years = $48,000,000. That is not including the increase in the cost of schooling every year. That doesn't even begin to address the fire and police services that aren't paid for. How is the LeCount Development progressing? What are the abatements promised on this project????? Did the developer donate any money to any elected City officials or to their party? Any spouses/children/cousins of City officials on the payroll of the developers? Maybe an enterprising Patch reporter can find out?
Billy January 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM
What a sad state of affairs when New Rochelle can only attract development money if it comes with tax abatements. Tax abatements were supposed to jump start the process, not become the standard.
newrochellesouth January 12, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Are there tax abatements? I haven't seen or heard of any. Maybe the city will get it right with this new development. New Rochelle needs development, if someone who has money wants to deveop in New Rochelle, we should let them. A private businessman/woman using their own money and taking their own risk should be able to build in New Rochelle. The problems come when developers are given artificial market conditions by politicians giving out special favors in taxes or services. That is where corruption destroys the market. That is where the residential homeowner foots the bill. (Richard Fevang get 5 years probation http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012301110081)

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