White Plains to Move Forward With Train Station Initiative
John Jordan | March 2017
WHITE PLAINS—White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach says the city will soon be issuing a solicitation for interested developers on plans to develop what will likely be highly sought after city-owned property around the White Plains Metro North train station.
Mayor Roach, who was the guest speaker at the March 23rd meeting of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors Commercial Investment Division, told Real Estate In-Depth that requests for expression of interest in the train station area development project will go out in the next several weeks. The solicitation is an outgrowth of a study of the train station and adjacent city parcels financed by a $1-million grant from New York State.
The property that could be developed includes parcels adjacent to the Metro North White Plains station as well as the existing city-owned parking garage. After the solicitation, Mayor Roach said the city and interested parties will assess the market to determine what types of development would be viable. Afterwards, the city would then issue a Request for Proposals and eventually select a winning development proposal.
Mayor Roach said he hopes the entire process will take about a year to select a winning bidder for the project. During his presentation at the CID meeting, the mayor said initial development possibilities would include street retail, multifamily development, as well as event-oriented space and some open space.
He added that in addition to the potential private development at city-owned parcels at or near the station, Metro North has also promised both near-term and long-term improvements to the White Plains station. Metro North was one of a host of stakeholders that participated in the state-funded study of the train station. Others included: Westchester County and the New York State Department of Transportation. He said that Metro North’s planned investment in the train station is based in large part on the city’s goal of making improvements in the area surrounding the station.
Mayor Roach said the future improvements and private investment at or near the train station “will change the perception of the city from people who only see it from the train,” he said. “It will be a huge benefit and it will improve the quality of life of people who live at that end of the city.”
He noted that urban renewal beginning in the 1960s and 1970s removed street retail from the three-block area beginning at the train station and running the length of the Galleria Mall until near Mamaroneck Avenue, thus creating an unsightly corridor from the station.
The mayor said that the future development and improvements will also relieve the “chaos” that now exists by the train station with taxi-cabs, corporate shuttles etc. that now line up there, particularly at peak commuter periods.
“Our train station does not work well for anyone,” Mayor Roach said. He added that while the Lennar redevelopment project at the former Westchester Pavilion Mall will serve as a connector to the Downtown District on that side of the city, the improvements and private development at the train station will help to connect the station and surrounding Battle Hill neighborhood to the Downtown as well.
During his hour-long presentation Mayor Roach provided updates on a host of major projects in the development pipeline, including planned mixed-use development projects on Westchester Ave., adjacent to the Westchester shopping mall; on Post Road at the former Sholz car dealership parcel; the redevelopment of the former AT&T building in Downtown White Plains and the planned redevelopment of the former White Plains Mall.