As officials in Port Chester prepare to review at least three significant redevelopment projects in the village’s downtown, Mayor Richard Falanka says simply that “it’s Port Chester’s time.”
“We’re sitting here and we see development in New Rochelle, see it in White Plains, and Port Chester has a lot to offer,” said Falanka.
Since September, three separate development teams have presented preliminary plans to the village’s Board of Trustees that would together add hundreds of new apartment units and retail square footage to the blocks surrounding Port Chester’s Metro-North Railroad station.
The village’s director of planning, Eric Zamft, said this is the largest concentration of new development projects he has seen in his 18-month tenure with the planning department.
The Station Lofts at Port Chester, one of the projects presented to the village board Oct. 16, would add 180 luxury apartment units in a new building on a 1.4-acre vacant lot
that runs parallel to the Metro-North train tracks on New Broad Street.
“I’ve done probably 50 multifamily development projects over my career, probably 4,000 units, and this is one of the most exciting ones,” Mark Forlenza, one of the project’s developers, told the Port Chester Board of Trustees.
“You have on this site on New Broad Street, a 1.4-acre piece, which is unheard of in a downtown area. Long and narrow,” Forlenza explained. “Which means you can really make a transformative effect on the neighborhood and we believe this is going to be transformative for that neighborhood.”
The proposal at New Broad Street comes from Post Road Iron Works, Inc., a Greenwich steel fabricator, which has owned the 1.4-acre parcel for more than a decade. The application is led by the property owner, Peter Carriero of Post Road Iron Works, along with Scott Gance and Forlenza, real estate professionals handling three development projects for the company.
“Port Chester is a very active market right now because of its close proximity to Manhattan,” Gance told the Business Journal.
He added that the village’s easy access to Manhattan has helped draw millennials.
The preliminary plans include a seven-floor building with five levels of apartments perched above two levels of parking, which would be hidden at street level by a mix of amenity space, a leasing office and retail. Planned amenities include a pool deck on the third level, fitness center and a rooftop lounge with views of the Long Island Sound.
“It’s going to be very unique,” Gance said. “There’s not going to be anything else like it in Westchester or Fairfield county.”
The company is also rehabilitating a historic property at 16 and 18 N. Main St. in Port Chester into a two-story restaurant with six one-bedroom apartments. In Greenwich, the group has proposed a 330-unit apartment project at its production facility on West Putnam Avenue.
The Station Lofts at Port Chester proposal would offer rental apartments ranging between 450 square feet and 1,150 square feet. The development team told the village that it would primarily target millennials and empty-nesters for the apartment units.
Two other development teams have presented plans to the village for properties across the Metro-North train tracks from the Station Lofts proposal.
Majic Development Group presented preliminary plans at the same Oct. 16 meeting for The Complex at Port Chester, which would add 72 residential units in a 10-story building. The building would replace four low-rise parcels between East Broadway and South Main Street in the village’s downtown. The plans also include about 15,000 square feet of retail space at ground level.
On the same block, developer 2SMSPortChester LLC presented preliminary plans in September for an 8 story, 150,000-square-foot mixed-use building with 100 apartment units, a hotel and about 30,000-square-feet of retail. The project would redevelop nine parcels along South Main Street near its intersection with Westchester Avenue.
Falanka said he heard positive feedback from residents following presentations for the three projects.
“These areas, in my opinion, they’re ready and ripe for redevelopment and we’re ready to go,” Falanka said.
Zamft said the village’s planning department has offered to work with
each developer on the process for submitting applications. Each project, Zamft said, will require a zoning amendment of some sort.
“We’d like to see it more quickly than slowly,” Falanka said of the review process.
The village is also considering hiring a master developer for its downtown, though Zamft said the review for these projects will be unrelated to the potential master developer’s work. Port Chester received six responses to its request for qualifications for a downtown master developer and Zamft said the village is now considering its next step for that process.
Separately, Port Chester’s board used $650,000 in its 2017 budget to fund the study and implementation of a form-based code, which regulates the physical forms of structures in development zones rather than just the allowed uses.
The village is also awaiting the potential sale of the former United Hospital site in the southern end of the village. Starwood Capital Group received a zoning change that would allow for a $300 million mixed-use redevelopment of the property, but those plans are on hold. Starwood told the village in September it will put the property on the market.
“We’re hoping that they make that sale as soon as possible and we can start with that project as soon as possible,” Falanka said. “We’re a busy place here.”