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White Plains looking for transit district developers

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The city’s vision of how it would like the area to look.

White Plains is seeking developers for 4.5 acres of land near the city’s Metro-North rail station. The city is making the parcels available as part of a larger strategy for reinvigorating the neighborhoods around its train station.

The city released a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) on June 12 for three city-owned properties, along with a parcel owned by the city’s Urban Renewal Agency, along the east side of the train station.

The land is part of the White Plains Transit District. The city used a million-dollar state grant to fund a 15-month review and community outreach process to develop a strategic plan for the district.

At a presentation of that plan in December 2016, city officials described a vision for the city-owned properties that includes a public square with mixed-use development projects, with apartments and street-level retail, surrounding the open space.

The property the city is making available includes two parking lots, one parking garage and a firehouse along Ferris Avenue and Bank Street.

The transit district also includes the Bee-Line TransCenter, the Metro-North train station, the Westchester County Center, the west portion of the central business district, the east portion of the Battle Hill neighborhood and parts of the Bronx River Parkway.

Beyond the city’s parcels, the area has already been targeted for development. The city has approved two new mixed-use apartment buildings along the formerly industrial Westmoreland Avenue and construction continues on a $250 million, 561-unit mixed-use apartment tower at 55 Bank St. The owners of the decades-old White Plains Mall on Hamilton Avenue in the district have proposed a mixed-use makeover for the building that includes a craft food hall, public space and 600 apartments units.

The RFEI for the city properties requires developers incorporate principles established in the planning process, including open space, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, ground-floor retail on apartment buildings and maintaining existing commuter parking.

In a press release announcing the RFEI, White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach said the request marks the next phase of the city’s process for the redeveloped transit district.

“We will begin to translate the key findings of our strategic plan into a redevelopment plan that is achievable, provides benefits for our residents and helps us grow responsibly as a city,” Roach said.

The deadline to submit proposals is Aug. 18.

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