GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Changing Landscapes
Richard Haggerty | February 2017
One of the benefits of HGAR’s move to One Maple Avenue in White Plains is the fact that we have great light in the office from oversized windows and skylights. Ironically the view from my office looks out over our former offices in the Westchester Pavilion Mall at 60 South Broadway, with the Ritz Carlton towers in the distance. I anticipate that the landscape outside my window is going to change dramatically in the next year or two as the building at 60 South Broadway will be demolished and two, 25-story residential towers will be constructed in its place, containing approximately 700 rental apartments and more than 16,000 square feet of mixed-use space including restaurants and retail. There goes my view of the Ritz Carlton towers!
There is also a changing landscape by the White Plains Metro North train station where construction is well underway for a project at 55 Bank Street, which will include two, 16-story residential towers containing a total of 561 apartments with mixed-use development on the ground floor. On Lexington Avenue on the south side of the downtown area, the White Plains Housing Authority is moving forward with the redevelopment of its aging public housing towers, having completed one new tower and commencing work on a second.
In addition to these new construction projects there are two significant renovation projects on the horizon in Downtown White Plains. One is again right outside my window—the Esplanade (the old White Plains hotel) is getting a much needed makeover to the tune of $35 million, and will be converted to more than 200 luxury apartments. The second is in the early discussion phase and would involve the conversion of the former AT&T building into luxury apartments. Add to that are talks involving the redevelopment of the old White Plains Mall.
All of these projects are moving forward in tandem with the ongoing analysis of how to most effectively modernize the White Plains Metro North train station and White Plains transit hub, which could have a significant impact on attracting Millennials from the city and the boroughs.
White Plains and its Mayor Tom Roach are far from alone in these transformative efforts. New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson is leading a successful drive to launch an anticipated four million-square-foot redevelopment effort focused on revitalizing the downtown area of the city. The cornerstone of this wave of development is the $120 million, 28-story mixed-use building that recently broke ground on Main Street which is spearheaded by the Long Island-based developer RXR Realty. Seth Pinsky, who serves at the executive vice president, fund manager, and metro emerging markets & public affairs director for RXR, will be the speaker at our CID meeting on June 22nd to discuss the firm’s mixed-use projects there and in other key locations in the New York metro area.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and the City Council also tabbed RXR and partner Rising Development to lead the construction of the $190-million Larkin Plaza in Downtown Yonkers, another mixed-use development, which includes two residential towers and 439 apartments.
Making sure his city doesn’t miss this wave of new development, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas has made improving the city’s infrastructure and streamlining its planning process the primary goals of his administration, with special focus on the areas surrounding Mount Vernon’s two Metro North Stations.
If there is one theme that ties together much of the current development boom, it’s the importance that close proximity to mass transit plays in these projects. I hope that this focus on mass transit continues because from my perspective that is the true driver of the new development and changing landscapes in the lower Hudson River Valley.