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.