Home Construction Common Council approves project for White Plains YMCA

Common Council approves project for White Plains YMCA

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The plan to tear down the YMCA building at 250 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains and replace it with a mixed-use development was approved by the White Plains Common Council at its April 6 meeting.

YMCA white plains Southern Land Co.
The building on Mamaroneck Avenue was built in 1927. Photo by Aleesia Forni

The applicant, Southern Land Company LLC, has its corporate headquarters in Nashville and maintains its northeast regional office at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. It had been asking for site plan and special permit approvals. The company was founded in 1986 by Timothy Downey, who is its CEO and has completed about two dozen single-family, multifamily and commercial projects in the U.S.

Joseph Rossi, northeast director of acquisitions for the company, had told the Business Journal that the YMCA project would cost “north of $100 million.”

As approved by the Common Council, the existing building would be demolished and an eight-story, 177-unit mixed-use structure would be built on the 1.16-acre property. There would be 1,876 square feet of ground-floor retail and three-level underground parking garage.

The existing building is eligible for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places because of its association with the national YMCA movement. The developer has agreed to preserve some of the architectural elements during demolition for possible exhibition along with creating a history of the local YMCA.

During the approval process, the Westchester County Planning Board expressed concern that the project would result in the loss of the 150 affordable single-room occupancy units that the YMCA had provided. It asked in a letter to the city how those units would be replaced.

Under the White Plains affordable housing requirements for new projects, developers have the right to pay a fee to the city instead of providing up to 25 affordable units. The city requires that 12% of the units in a new project fall into the affordable category. For this project, 12% of the 177 units would be 21 affordable units.

Southern Land has chosen the buy-out fee, which has been calculated at $3,157,875 based on a per-unit rate of 1.25 times the average median income of a family of four in Westchester, or $150,375 per unit.

The Common Council found that the project does not provide adequate land for park and recreation facilities based upon it bringing 346 new residents to the site. The council assessed a fee of $556,500 to be used by the city exclusively for parks, playgrounds and other recreational purposes including the acquisition of real estate.

The city is requiring that a balance due to the city’s Community Development Program Revolving Loan Fund be paid off. In 2013, the YMCA took out a loan of $75,000 to help cover the cost of rehabilitating 26 of the bedrooms in its facility. The unpaid balance was given as $31,617.26.

The developer was given a special permit to increase the residential density of the project. As-of-right, 114 residential units were allowed on the site. The special permit allows the 63 additional units.

Cynthia Delfino, the Y’s president and CEO, told the Business Journal that the organization is open and hosting a vibrant childcare and pre-K program for the city school district. “At present our team is providing childcare for essential workers. We are in the process of renovating the former St. John’s School building located at 148 Hamilton Ave. that should be ready this summer. We will be accepting applications for the fall soon,” Delfino said.

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