White Plains Common Council Approves Controversial French-American School

Real Estate In-Depth | November 2017

WHITE PLAINS—After nearly seven years in the approval process and in court proceedings, the White Plains Common Council earlier this month approved the controversial adaptive reuse of the former Ridgeway Country Club into a campus for the French-American School of New York.

The council approved the scaled-down project by the required super majority (5-2) that paves the way for the French American School to build a 640-student school for grades 6-12. The Upper campus will also include a gymnasium, performing arts center, athletic fields and a greenhouse. The school will be developed at the former site of the Ridgeway Golf Club clubhouse and country club facilities were located. FASNY has set aside 51 acres of the 129-acre property for a public nature conservancy.

FASNY released a statement after securing the Common Council approval. “The French-American School of New York community is deeply appreciative for tonight’s positive vote by Mayor (Thomas) Roach and the Common Council super-majority that opens the way for our Upper School Campus in White Plains. This vote marks the culmination of a challenging seven-year process that demonstrates FASNY’s long-term commitment to providing our students with the best possible educational experience and facilities, and becoming proud citizens of White Plains.”

Geoffrey Thompson, a spokesman for FASNY, told Real Estate In-Depth that no timeline has been set for when construction would begin. Due to the delays with the project, including court proceedings, design work had been put on hold until a final decision on its plans had been reached.

FASNY made key revisions to its original plan that included keeping Hathaway Lane open, the elimination of the Lower School (nursery through fifth grade) from the project, which reduced the student population at the property by 33% from 950 to 640. The revised plan also reduces the total building square footage from 243,000 square feet to 158,000 square feet. The plan as originally proposed was estimated to be valued at $60 million. The White Plains Common Council in a 4-3 vote approved on Sept. 6, 2016 a settlement agreement that put litigation on hold in return for the council’s review of the revised plan.