UPDATE: New Rochelle Mayor Reveals New Downtown High-Rise Tower Projects; City Hall Move
John Jordan | March 2018
NEW ROCHELLE—In his State of the City address on March 1, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson announced that one $200-million downtown high-rise project is moving forward, and also revealed for the first time another three major high-rise mixed-use high-rise developments for the downtown district. The four developments, when completed, will add well in excess of 1,800 housing units to the city’s inventory.
Mayor Bramson and officials with RXR Realty, the master developer for the City of New Rochelle’s downtown redevelopment program with partner Renaissance Downtowns, stated the developer will soon move forward with a plan to build twin, 28-story towers at the Church-Division parking lot site in Downtown New Rochelle.
RXR Realty proposed the ambitious mixed-use project back in August 2017. Mayor Bramson, speaking at a conference on Feb. 28 at TF Andrew at 607 Main St. sponsored by BisNow, said that he was planning to discuss RXR Realty’s ‘new iteration” of its Church-Division project, south of Main Street, in his “State of the City” address on March 1.
Mayor Bramson later stated that the developer would be presenting plans to the city in short order. Seth Pinsky, executive vice president, metro markets, public affairs director and portfolio manager with RXR Realty, told Real Estate In-Depth that the firm hopes to bring its plans before the city’s Planning Board in the next month or two and begin development on the project by the end of this year. The mayor in his State of the City address said that some construction at the project site could begin with a groundbreaking shortly.
The plan as outlined by RXR last year called for 650 to 700 residential apartments and between 35,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet of retail space. Pinsky told Real Estate In-Depth at the BisNow event that the project is valued at approximately $200 million.
In addition to updating RXR’s Church and Division project, the mayor in his State of the City address announced three new development projects—14 LeCount, 500 Main St. and 277 North Ave.
Wilder-Balter Partners of Elmsford is proposing twin-towers of 27 stories each at 14 LeCount that will feature approximately 500 apartments, as well as the activation of Anderson Plaza. The mayor said that project is expected to be presented to the city’s Planning Board this month, with a possible groundbreaking by the end of this year.
BRP Development of New York City and Covenant Church have proposed a 16-story building at 500 Main St. that will feature 243 apartments. The project is expected to break ground sometime in 2019.
The mayor also reported that Fisher Development is planning a 28-story building at 277 North Ave., just across the street from the train station. The project, which will wrap around the iconic K building, will feature more than 400 apartments.
If that were not enough, the mayor also revealed that city government operations will be relocating from North St. to the base of 45 Harrison St., the site of a 27-story residential tower (238 apartments) that is being developed by MacQuesten Development.
“At the base of their Harrison Street tower, MacQuesten Development has agreed to build out a brand new civic complex,” the mayor said. “It will put the people’s house back in the heart of the city, right between Main and Huguenot (streets) bringing employees, visitors and residents closer to shops and eateries, helping to create a more robust daytime office population, and making a bold statement of confidence in our downtown’s future.”
The mayor added that the new City Hall would in fact cost less to operate than that the city pays at its current facilities at 515 North Ave. The 45 Harrison St. project will also include the construction of a new Fire Station #1. The city selected MacQuesten Development as the winning bidder for the project last summer.
The $110-million project is also slated to include 6,700 square feet of ground floor retail space and is scheduled to break ground this summer.
Among the major developments under construction at the moment in Downtown New Rochelle is at 587 Main St. RXR Realty broke ground on the Loew’s Theater project there on Nov. 30, 2016 that at full build-out will be comprised of 280 rental units and 10,000 square feet of arts and cultural space. The project, currently under construction, will also feature 17,000 square feet of commercial space and 234 on-site parking spaces.
Also in Westchester County, RXR Realty is currently building Larkin Plaza, a twin-tower mixed-use project in Yonkers that when completed will feature a 25-story tower building and a 17-story building that will house 442 rental apartments and 35,000 square feet of retail space at a site near the Yonkers Metro North station.
Mayor Bramson told the more than 300 attendees of the BisNow conference that there are about 15 development projects that are either under construction, approved or in the pipeline to be built in the city, with more to come.
“Over the next three or four years, as long as the national economy holds for us with significant strength, this is going to be a dramatically different community,” Mayor Bramson predicted.
He noted that there are going to be about eight or nine tower projects, including the Loew’s Theater site, that will be constructed downtown that will forever change the city’s skyline.
“New Rochelle will be emblematic from the surrounding area of what a modern urban, suburban area can look like,” he said.
He added that outside of the downtown district, the city is looking to open up its waterfront and link the urban center with the shoreline.
The conference also featured a panel of developers that all have projects in development in the city. The panel included: Alex Twining, president and CEO of Twining Properties; Joseph Apicella, managing director of development for MacQuesten Development; Bill Balter, president of Wilder Balter Partners Inc.; Jerry Bermingham, executive vice president of development/acquisitions for National Realty & Development Corp. Jose Cruz, senior managing director and co-head of the New Jersey office of HFF and moderator Michael Gilbert, business development manager for Con Edison of New York.
All of the developers praised the city for its zoning and approval reform initiatives that have resulted in a significant amount of increased investment in the city.
New Rochelle’s redevelopment plan, which included the rezoning of 279 acres of land around its train station in its Downtown area, allows for more than 12 million square feet of new construction, including up to 2.4 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail, 6,370 housing units and 1,200 hotel rooms.
Mayor Bramson, in his State of the City address, said while pointing to the renderings of the proposed downtown projects noted that some may have questioned whether the city’s vision of development as outlined in its development plan approved in December 2015 could be realized. “These images, with many more to come, and the reality of glass and steel to follow, answer that question with an emphatic and unambiguous, proud, confident, ‘Yes.’ Yes we can. Yes we will. Yes we are,” he said.