New Rochelle Brothers Apply Green Building Techniques to Transform Dilapidated Train Station into Spectacular Adaptive Reuse Facility in Mamaroneck

Written By: Robert Cox

In what can only be described as an incredible turn around, the new “One Station Plaza” in Mamaroneck, NY has risen from the ruins of what was the old Mamaroneck Train Station and been transformed into a stylish, hip bistro with professional, loft-type office space above.

With a ribbon-cutting ceremony held yesterday afternoon, One Station Plaza is officially open for business.

Four years ago, John and Christ Verni bought the Mamaroneck Train Station from the MTA. The building had fallen into disrepair. Originally constructed in 1888, the building is the second oldest depot on the New Haven railroad line.

The Verni brothers envisioned a restaurant on the first floor and some offices on a new second floor.

“We are here today to celebrate a vision that became a reality”, said John Verni. “The results are breathtaking”. An enthusiastic crowd concurred.

The new Club Car restaurant has been opened by well-known Westchester restauranteur Brian MacMenamin and his wife, Fatima. MacMenamin has opened other fabulous area restaurants including MacMenamin’s Grill, the Post Road Ale House and the Larchmont Avenue Oyster House.

During a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday afternoon, Verni explained that in planning and development, the project is a type know as “adaptive reuse”. Inside several of the historic elements has been preserved and incorporated into the design.

The old ticket booth has become part of the bar, the historic palladium windows with period colored glass have been fully restored, the vintage doors have been replicated with beautiful oak replacement doors and the old doors have become walls within the restaurant. The grand fireplace with years of paint has been stripped to the original wood and is now a working fireplace.

Upstairs what has been nothing more than a 4-foot crawl space has been converted into two beautiful office suites. The ceiling in the restaurant was lowered to create room for the office space above. A storage area closed off for forty years has been re-imagined as the stunning main dining room for the Club Car restaurant.

Vernco, the brother’s company, utilized several “green building” techniques and incorporated them into the building.

In a speech before the grand tour and wine bar reception, a John Verni proudly explained:

“We made extensive use of reclaimed wood – the tongue and groove wood from the train station ceiling became wainscoting on the second floor – and the beams from the ceiling became sound articulation over our conference room and offices. We preserved the original cathedral ceiling by insulating the new roof from the outside with SIPs panels, we utilized radiant heat flooring to provide cost effective and energy efficient heat to the second floor and we installed green roofing on the old train tunnels to catch storm water runoff and provide some additional energy efficiency.”

As guys who love to restore old buildings,” Verni continued, “Chris and I like to say, ‘there is no building greener than the one that is already there’. Too often, communities turn their back on their own history and tear down buildings like this. People sometimes say a building like this can’t be saved, or is not worth saving. We are here today to thank those who supported us and told us not only that it can be done, but that it should be done; that it was worth saving this piece of our history.

On hand at the event was Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum, County Legislator James Maisano, State Senate Candidate Bob Cohen, former New Rochelle Mayoral Candidate Michael Brown, Jim Killoron, the Executive Director of Westchester County Habitat for Humanity and many of the officials who were involved in the project over the past four years and the various contractors and subcontractors who helped complete the building.