Stark Contrast for New Rochelle’s Main Street:  Eleven Story Apartment Building

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An eleven story building at 500 Main Street in New Rochelle for the New York Covenant Development Corporation would form a stark contrast to buildings nearby.

The New York Covenant Church on Main Street would add to their land an eleven story affordable housing building, retail space, a new sanctuary and a community room. 

The new building would contain 19 one-bedroom apartments, 26 two-bedroom apartments and five three-bedroom apartments, but only 48 parking spaces.  Council member Albert Tarantino was especially concerned about the size of the project, the density and the height.  He wanted to know more about the several thousand feet of undesignated square feet of space that was presented with no definite use.  He also felt the number of school children that would be added to already overcrowded schools in the neighborhood should not be underestimated.

Questions arose about the income levels of the residents.  Affordable rentals in Westchester generally require the occupants to have incomes of $63,180 or less for a family of four, or 60% of the County’s median income.  While supporting housing in downtown, Mayor Noam Bramson felt what was needed was middle income housing  so their residents could support the downtown businesses.

A density bonus was being sought because the land is presently zoned for a maximum six story height.  Land south of Main Street is zoned for a maximum 3 stories.  While the developer felt the building would be “distinctive” and add to the City’s skyline, Council member Richard St. Paul felt parking was always an issue in downtown.  He wanted to know if the parking space would be included with the rent.  Council member Lou Trangucci had problems with the height of the building which would be in his District.  He said there was no visitor parking and they would have to park on the street.  He expressed concern with the tandem parking and the congestion created.  Ines Candrea said it clearly, “We do not need any more big buildings on Main Street.”

George Imburgia was asked what he thought of the proposal. He answered, “I think adding to the density for the area would only create more congestion along Main Street which is already difficult to drive through.  The lack of sufficient parking for the number of apartments and visitors exacerbates this problems.” Real estate broker, Anthony Sutton felt, “If the church is sponsoring this building, it will not benefit the taxpayers of New Rochelle.  This is not the location for this type of housing because it will not help the business district.”

Reprinted from the Westchester Herald, March l, 2010 issue.