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New Rochelle City Council Moves Forward With City Yard Proposal

Moving the City Yard may open the Echo Bay shoreline to public access, environmental improvements, and economic development in New Rochelle. Photo Credit: Contributed
The proposed “Pratt Landing” at Echo Bay in New Rochelle. The new City Yard will open the waterfront to redevelopment. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - The New Rochelle City Council has unanimously agreed upon a long-term lease agreement for the new Public Works Operation Center.

City officials announced on Thursday that they have reached the agreement to construct the new Public Works Operations Center - more commonly referred to as City Yard - in the ground level of the busy Home Depot/Costco complex at Nardozzi Place.

Under the terms of the agreement, a private developer will construct a 245,000-square-foot commercial structure, then lease 130,000-square-feet at the ground level for city use. Construction is expected to begin late this year or early next year.

"In addition to providing much-needed modern, efficient facilities for our Public Works Department, this step will also permit redevelopment of the Echo Bay waterfront, where our existing, aging public works yard is presently located," New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson noted.

The plans for a new City Yard has been in the works for several years.

On Nov. 13, 2012, the City Council determined that it was in the city’s best interest to finance the design of a new City Yard and authorized $25 million in bonds. Since then, city officials “expended substantial time and resources in an effort to locate an acceptable site for a new facility.”

According to New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, the new City Yard comes at a critical time, as the current antiquated facility on East Main Street is more than a century old.

“Our existing City Yard is in deplorable condition and requires a constant stream of emergency appropriations to keep it up and running,” he said when announcing the plan. “Think of it like a beat-up old car with 200,000 miles on the odometer, it’s risky to drive and urgently needs replacement. The new City Yard will enable us to deliver essential public works services effectively and efficiently for decades to come.”

The five-story development will include approximately 245,000-square-feet, including 187 parking spaces. The City Yard will span 130,000-square-feet on the ground level with more than 40,000-square-feet of commercial retail space. The lease will be for a term of 45 years with the city paying no more than $260,000 annually in rent.

With the City Yard set to switch locations soon, Bramson said at the time that it could potentially re-open discussions about development at access at the Echo Bay waterfront, helping to offset costs to taxpayers.

“The total price tag, a combination of debt and lease payments, comes to about $1.5 million per year, but because development of Echo Bay and on the upper levels of the Yard structure will generate new revenue, the cost to taxpayers will be lower, and certainly a lot lower than rebuilding the Yard where it is today,” he said.

“No rational person would choose to put a public works facility on the waterfront today, where it completely blocks access to Long Island Sound. The City Yard has been the principal obstacle to positive changes at Echo Bay. Now this obstacle is being swept away, allowing us to activate the waterfront for higher and better uses.”

“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our staff and departments of Development and Public Works, this agreement will bring our Public Works operations into the 21st century, at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers,” City Manager Charles B. Strome, III added.

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