A high-rise, mixed-use building that would contain 407,000 square feet with 286 apartments, 12,600 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 267 parking spaces has been proposed for a collection of nine parcels across from the Metro-North Railroad station in Port Chester.
The developer, Broad Street Owner LLC, either owns or is the contract vendee for the nine parcels on Broad Street between Irving Avenue and a building occupied by Verizon. The developer is asking Port Chester’s board of trustees to create a zone in order to allow the project to happen. The address of the proposed building is 44 Broad St.
Attorney David Cooper of the White Plains-based law firm Zarin & Steinmetz told the board at its Sept. 3 meeting that the developer would like to see a CD-6-T Train Station District created so that the project can move forward.
The developer’s proposed building would be 179 feet tall. It is asking that a new zoning district define what’s allowed to be built in terms of building height, rather than stories.
Cooper said the developer believes the project could serve as “the cornerstone of the village’s redevelopment effort in transit-oriented development in the downtown.” He said the developer believes the project is entirely consistent with the village’s vision for the area right next to the train station.
“Your vision book which you adopted in 2018, for example, on the cover of your vision book shows a high-rise development right next to the train station; that’s this site, so when we say we believe this is the cornerstone of your downtown redevelopment effort, we believe the proof is in the pudding or the pictures themselves,” Cooper said.
Cooper said that while the developer is aware that the board currently is reviewing a “form based” zoning code for the entire village, “timing is of the essence.” In explaining why the developer submitted a petition calling for a standalone zoning district to be created now, he said that most of what the village is looking at in its village-wide review is not applicable to the transit-oriented development being proposed. He said that it would serve everyone’s interests to act now to create the zoning needed for the project to get underway.
“Transit-oriented development is obviously a hot product in southern Westchester. A lot of other nearby municipalities have already adopted and changed their zoning to attract this type of development,” he said. Cooper said that the developer doesn’t want to miss the market and miss the opportunity to have a successful project in this part of the village.
Architect Philip Fruchter of White Plains-based Papp Architects described the project as being, “friendly to the neighborhood with retail space on the first floor on Broad Street, on North Pearl Street, and a residential lobby on Irving and two entrances into the garages that are as minimal as possible. The retail spaces can be leased either as a single space or divided into smaller spaces as the market might demand,” he said.
Fruchter said two levels of parking would be below grade and 2-1/2 levels would be above grade. “Those levels are screened by the retail and other façade elements so that they’re not visible from the street, and above that we have the residential floors.”
Fruchter said that they are using various design elements to minimize the perceived mass of the proposed building. He said that their design has 16 stories plus a penthouse rooftop amenity space for residents at the 17th level, all within the allowable 179 feet building height. He explained that office buildings usually have greater height for each floor than do residential buildings. Therefore, a 179-feet-tall residential building would have more stories than would an office building of the same height.
The developer’s planning consultant, Pat Cleary, said that the impacts from the proposed project are manageable.
“It will have a population of about 500 residents in the building. There will be children that will be generated from a project like this,” he said, estimating that between six and 29 schoolchildren would be living there. Cleary pointed out, however, that the project hasn’t been designed as a particularly family-friendly project. “There aren’t playgrounds. There aren’t facilities for children necessarily, so while children aren’t prohibited, it’s not a family-friendly project. It’s a transit-oriented project in the hub of the village’s downtown, so it will attract a different clientele.”
He said the project would generate approximately $3 million a year in tax revenue for the village depending on how the project is developed and that “there would be a significant windfall in tax revenue to the schools even after (the costs of) educating those children.”
Mayor Richard Falanka said, “I’ve been saying all along that we need development in this village. It’s important. We have developers that are anxious to work with us,” he said. “It’s something I think we should move forward and tell developers we’re open for business. We definitely want to see something happen. We need development, we need the tax revenues it brings to this community, so I’m in favor of moving this petition forward.”
Falanka presented a resolution to move the developer’s petition forward, which was adopted unanimously. The resolution accepted the developer’s zoning petition, declared the board of trustees to be the lead agency for the proposed action, directed the village staff to prepare the zoning text and map amendment in local law format and referred the matter to both the village’s planning commission and the Westchester County Planning Board.