Transit: Transit-oriented Development on the Horizon in New Rochelle?

Transit: Transit-oriented Development on the Horizon in New Rochelle?

By Michael Woyton for New Rochelle Patch

The City of New Rochelle is exploring a transit-oriented development at the intersection of Centre Avenue and Prospect Street by potentially partnership with real estate developer Albanese Organization, Inc., and architects Pelli Clarke Pelli.

The “Main Street Core” project could bring jobs and workforce housing to the downtown area if the development comes to fruition.

City Development Commissioner Michael Freimuth said in a presentation during the City Council’s Committee as a Whole meeting Tuesday that the city solicited proposals from developers and narrowed the field temporarily down to Albanese and Pelli Clarke Pelli.

If the council decides to proceed at next week’s meeting, the city and the developer would have 90 days to explore options as to what to what shape the project could take on the site.

Albanese Organization, Inc., of Garden City, Nassau County, built the residential 100 U.N. Plaza, the German Mission to the U.N. and the Lycee Francais in New York.

New Haven, CT, and New York, NY-based Pelli Clarke Pelli designed, among others, the World Financial Center in New York and the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

Albanese Executive Vice President George P. Aridas said the developer is a long-term owner.

“What we do is development that we own and become a part of the community,” he said, with a focus on sustainability and green technology.

“We are looking to develop open spaces that are usable for the people who live in and around the area,” Aridas said.

“Why we want to come to New Rochelle is, we thrive in public partnerships,” he said, “to address the needs of the greater community.”

Aridas said the development would allow them to have workforce housing because of its location in the downtown area.

During the 90-day period, the developer and the architect will examine the physical aspects of the area, along with the economic factors, design scenarios and financing options.

Freimuth said the 90-days is a window in which Albanese and Pelli are declared a preferred developer.

“The idea here is for us to test their modeling and for them to test our marketplace,” he said.

“This is an easy testing of the water, still exploring all the issues out there,” Freimuth said. “The only risk the city has is to lock up its conversation with one team. The process is, we learn from each other” rather than through a pure bid process.

Russell Albanese, the president of the organization, said part of the challenge will be to anticipate future demand in the area, not only of developed sites on Main Street but also existing vacancies.

“We need to address a lot of these issues within 90 days,” he said.

Mayor Noam Bramson said the resolution formalizing the temporary partnership had to be modified so it couldn’t be adopted Tuesday but will be on the agenda of the council’s legislative meeting Oct. 19.

“A transit-oriented development is a major priority for New Rochelle,” Bramson said, “and will remain so.”

[newrochelle.patch.com]

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