NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – While it will be years before the downtown redevelopment in New Rochelle is completed, residents are optimistic and eagerly anticipating what may amount to an unprecedented overhaul.
Earlier this month, the New Rochelle City Council unanimously approved RDRXR – a teaming of Renaissance Downtowns (RD) and RXR Realty - as its master developer, as officials seek a “consensus driven, mixed-use, transit-oriented proposal,” with the train station serving as the heart of, and gateway to the city.
Officials with RDRXR have vowed to “hit the ground running,” and plan to seek input from local business and homeowners to create a shared vision of what New Rochelle ought to be, though Mayor Noam Bramson has warned that residents will need to be patient with the project.
"This sweeping and visionary proposal exemplifies the principles of smart, transit-oriented growth, addresses community goals that have been pursued for a generation, and would deliver huge benefits to our economy and quality of life,” he said. “While there are many steps ahead, including difficult challenges and questions, I have never been more excited or optimistic about our prospect.
The redevelopment will focus on embracing the arts and New Rochelle’s cultural past, including a new library, cultural arts center, garden atrium and outdoor amphitheater around Ruby Dee Park. The train station would also undergo a radical transformation as well, to be “a door to the community, serving as a bridge to the past as well as the future.”
“It’s a really ambitious idea, I’ve never heard of anything like it, so I’m a little weary of that,” Fifth Avenue resident Louis Garber said. “But if everything actually goes through, I think it would make New Rochelle a place to be and visit.”
By undertaking this redevelopment, New Rochelle could see up to 12,000 construction jobs and approximately 5,000 permanent full-time jobs in the community. Resident Mickey Evans said that he saw no downside to the proposed projects.
“I need to hear more about where the money is coming from for this plan, but if it brings work to (the city) and makes this a more appealing place to be, I’m all for it,” he said. “I saw the proposal (RDRXR) made to the city council, and they’ve got me excited about what they can do here.”
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