NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Last Thursday, Howard Zemsky, President and CEO of Empire State Development and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development, joined New Rochelle City Officials at the local Boys and Girls Club to award a $10M Downtown Redevelopment Initiative grant to aid with the revitalization of the City’s Lincoln Avenue corridor zone and surrounding neighborhoods. The goal of the grant is to forge stronger social, economic, and physical linkages between this vital area and the downtown as a whole.
The Lincoln Avenue corridor is immediately adjacent to New Rochelle’s downtown core, currently in the midst of a major transformation attracting $6.7B in public-private investment including the creation of 6,370 new housing units, more than 2 million square feet of new office space and over 12 million square feet of new construction, all in a compact, walkable, transit-rich, mixed-use downtown district.
New Rochelle was one of 10 cities selected to participate in the third round of the Governor’s transformative Downtown Revitalization Initiative, investing $100 million into 10 additional downtown neighborhoods across the state. In its third year, the proven-successful investment will boost local economies and foster vibrant neighborhoods that offer a higher quality of life in every region of New York.
Situated adjacent to New Rochelle’s Downtown Overlay Zone (DOZ), created to spur commercial, residential, and mixed-use development in the city’s core, the Lincoln Avenue corridor faces impediments including a lack of transportation options, rent burden and a widening age gap that, without additional support, would have prevented the area’s residents from capitalizing on New Rochelle’s downtown redevelopment initiative.
“This highly-competitive program chooses only one winner per year from the entire mid-Hudson Valley, a huge multi-county region with dozens of municipalities,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “New Rochelle’s selection is, therefore, not only enormously helpful in material terms — we can do a lot with $10 million! — it is also a powerful validation of our ambitious downtown redevelopment plan, which has received widespread, positive recognition.”
With Governor Cuomo’s $10 million grant, New Rochelle plans to:
- catalyze and accelerate the revitalization of the Lincoln Avenue corridor;
- connect this largely distressed residential area to the DOZ for improved access to jobs;
- take advantage of a unique opportunity to leverage State dollars with other timely private and government investments in order to achieve maximum positive impact for thousands of city residents as well as the lower Hudson Valley and New York State; and
- demonstrate conclusively that New Rochelle’s planning and development urban innovations can be replicated elsewhere, allowing the city to serve as a powerful model of urban re-development.
Physical improvements New Rochelle hopes to implement to reach these goals include:
- abridged crosswalks;
- signal and signage improvements;
- relocation of bus stops;
- traffic flow changes;
- intersection improvements at various junctions;
- the addition of bicycle sharrows to various streets;
- improvements to the Boys and Girls Club and other properties that could include the creation of co-working space to spur entrepreneurial collaborations
- an elevated park;
- a free electric shuttle that will link the northern residential neighborhoods with commercial and cultural resources in the city core; and
- the conversion of a utility bridge to a pedestrian walkway connecting the hospital and several residential properties to the train
New Rochelle’s unprecedented redevelopment initiative was launched in 2015 with the signing of a Master Developer agreement with RXR Realty. On the residential side alone, more than 3,000 residential units have received site plan approval. As projects move forward, they are expected to create thousands of new jobs and attract an estimated 13,000 new residents.
New Rochelle’s central location, unrivaled transit access, respected higher educational institutions (Monroe College, Iona College, College of New Rochelle), award-winning public schools, ultra-high-speed public access WiFi kiosks, groundbreaking partnerships including IDEA (Interactive Digital Environments Alliance), diverse population and physical characteristics have the City uniquely positioned to evolve into a thriving live-work-play magnet for millennials and young professionals – enhancing the competitive position of the entire region.
The Lincoln Avenue corridor—which contains open space, Montefiore Hospital of New Rochelle, market rate and affordable housing, the Metro North Train Station, and part of New Rochelle’s Arts + Cultural District—looks to build upon significant state, county, and private investments already targeting the area, including: $1M for a parking garage from Empire State Development, a traffic study and planning grant for North Avenue (2017 NYS ESD award), newly renovated subsidized housing, nearly $45M in renovations to the Montefiore Hospital (NYS Capital Restructuring Financing Program and Essential Health Care Provider Support Program), significant private investment in housing targeted towards millennials and artists, as well as a mixed-use building spanning two major roads (Huguenot and Main) that will include 32,000 square feet of retail, 280 residential units and a 10,000 square foot black box theater.