First Metro-North TOD Project Opens in Harrison
John Jordan | August 8, 2023
HARRISON—New York Gov. Kathy Hochul was joined by leaders from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and officials from residential development firm AvalonBay Communities on Aug. 7 in announcing the completion of Avalon Harrison, a transit-oriented development located at the Harrison Metro-North Railroad station built with support from the MTA.
“My administration is continuing to do everything in our power to build new housing in every corner of this state,” Gov. Hochul said. “With more than 140 units of affordable housing, the Avalon Harrison project does not only fit seamlessly into the community—it promises to make Harrison more dynamic and walkable and serve as a model for transit-oriented development everywhere.
Avalon Harrison, built at the Metro-North Railroad Harrison Station, includes: 143 apartments in three residential buildings, including seven affordable apartments subsidized by Westchester County; approximately 5,000 square feet of interior amenities for the residential community; approximately 27,000 square feet of vibrant, street-level retail/commercial space; two landscaped public plazas with connections to the Metro-North Harrison Station platform; 758 total project parking spaces ; 475 Metro-North Customer Parking spaces (an increase of 218 or 85%); 96 retail parking spaces and 187 residential parking spaces.
Transit-oriented development is intended to promote downtown revitalization and improve the environment and healthy lifestyles by providing residents access to shops, amenities, and rail stations within walking distance. The MTA is continuing to advance transit-oriented developments, with another active project underway in Westbury.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “This (Harrison) project is a perfect example of what is meant when the phrase TOD, Transit Oriented Development, is used. We’ve got housing, beautiful new housing, close to transit so people don’t have to own as many cars and they don’t have to use them as frequently. As the governor said, these are the units that are custom designed for seniors who want to get out of that big house that’s now too big for them, but want to stay close to their friends in the community they’ve cultivated their whole lives.”
Metro-North President and Long Island Rail Road Interim President Catherine Rinaldi said, “The completion of this beautiful complex completely transforms the area around Harrison Station and will attract new customers to the cleaner and greener public transportation that Metro-North provides. Instead of just being a place to come and go quickly, Harrison station is now a destination and an example of how we can transform cities and increase the use of public transportation with Transit Oriented Development.”
The first phase of the two-phase project opened Aug. 23, 2021, and included the construction of a 598-space commuter parking garage located steps away from the Harrison station’s Connecticut-bound platform. The garage is owned and operated by Metro-North.
The Harrison project is expected to be a transformative project for the station and the central business district of Harrison and is a three-way win for the partnership. On the public sector side, MTA now has improved station access (increased parking, improved pedestrian flow with direct access to the outbound platform from the garage); an enhanced station environment with retail shops along the frontage of Halstead Avenue and in the plazas/courtyard; and increased residential density within walking distance to the station for potential ridership increases; all while avoiding any capital cost, New York State officials noted.
The project benefits the Town/Village of Harrison with a potential economic catalyst for the central business district and tax revenues from property that was previously public owned.
Harrison currently has 98 trains per weekday and 75 on Saturdays and Sundays, generally offering service every 30 minutes toward Manhattan and Stamford during off-peak hours and every 20 minutes during peak hours.
Avalon Harrison complements Gov. Hochul’s agenda to strengthen New York’s housing supply and make the state more affordable and more livable. The Governor recently announced a package of executive actions to promote housing growth across New York State. As part the FY 2023 Budget, the governor also secured funding for a five-year, $25-billion housing plan to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes in urban and rural areas across New York.
In 2018, the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency provided $1.35 million to the mixed-use, transit-oriented development that was valued at the time at nearly $77 million.
The success of the Harrison Avalon project is being followed by other TOD development projects at Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road stations, which are being constructed in conformance with recently enacted municipal rezonings.
The MTA is currently working with the Village of Westbury in Nassau County to bring a mixed-use residential development on the LIRR-owned commuter parking lot south of the Westbury Station following multi-billion-dollar MTA investments in LIRR. The MTA continues to work with communities that have committed to improve and activate their station areas by rezoning to allow greater density and mixed uses.