At his annual address in front of a full house at Beckwith Pointe, Bramson offered a snapshot into what he believes is a bright future for New Rochelle as he promised to “seize hold of tomorrow” through various initiatives.
Bramson outlined the City Council’s plans for the downtown business district, including more than 3,000,000-square-feet of retail and office space, 5,500 apartment units and hundreds of hotel rooms.
“It’s not the numbers that count, it’s what they add up to: a thriving city center where all of us can find a place to shop, a place to work, a place to meet or a place to live,” he said. “Sustainable growth for a region that’s greener and healthier. Financial terms that put taxpayers ahead, and a message to the world loud and clear: New Rochelle is open for business.”
During his speech, Bramson noted that New Rochelle has a nearly unimpeded path toward development, with “the most flexible zoning code in Westchester,” through a “form-based” system that allows builders to quickly respond to shifting market demands. City officials have also already completed an environmental impact statement for the entire area, which will permit developers to move forward without months or years of review.
“There has never been a clearer path to doing business successfully in New Rochelle, and that’s a profoundly important change,” he said. “But there’s also another side to this, just as important. While a good investment climate is necessary, it’s not sufficient. Our end goal isn’t a healthier rate of return for developers - that’s just a means; our end goal is a healthier city.”
The longtime mayor expressed excitement and optimism over the future of the city and the state and scope of the downtown redevelopment, noting that they plan to also implement job training programs, to eliminate blank walls and empty spaces on the street-front and add additional affordable housing.
Additionally, they’re created a “fair share mitigation fund” that will require all developers to contribute to infrastructure and capital needs that come with the growth of New Rochelle.
“Combine this new shovel-ready development framework, these smart standards for community benefits with everything New Rochelle already has - the best location, the best transit options, and when Penn Station access is completed, a direct connection to the east and west sides closer than any other stop - put it together, and from every perspective, this is the most exciting development opportunity in the entire region; maybe one of the best in America,” Bramson said.
“It’s wheels up. And as our city takes flight, lifted by the hard work already done, aiming higher through the hard work still to do, may we never forget why the journey matters and why we are so privileged to take it together.”
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