Twenty-Acre Proposal Features Water Views, Open Space, Public Access

After several months of negotiations with our planning staff, Forest City Residential, the designated developer for New Rochelle’s Echo Bay waterfront, has unveiled a detailed plan for the restoration of twenty acres of currently abandoned and industrial shoreline property.

In my judgment, the proposal is among the most exciting and significant in New Rochelle’s history. A vibrant mixed-use development of parkland, housing, and shops would replace a contaminated and under-utilized site that currently blocks public access to the Sound shore.

Among the key benefits of the plan are: three public parks and more than five acres of green space; total clean-up and remediation of environmentally contaminated land; views from surrounding neighborhoods to the Long Island Sound; a continuous waterfront promenade with public access to the bay and adjoining parks; navigable channels for boats, kayaks and canoes; new retail to provide goods and services and strengthen the local economy; and a significant number of affordable housing units, planned at 20% of the total, double the City’s 10% requirement.

Download a power point presentation of the Echo Bay Plan.

Download a sampling of community reaction to the Echo Bay Plan.

Download a copy of the City’s press release on the Echo Bay Plan.

The structures in the plan would house 600 apartments, 100,000 square feet of small shop/boutique retail, 62 town-homes, and 42 condominiums. All buildings would be limited to five stories or less.

In addition, a new 15,000 square foot community center would replace the abandoned armory that now sits on East Main Street. Several of the armory’s distinctive architectural and artistic features would be preserved and incorporated into this new facility, to be sited on Echo Avenue. The center would provide meeting space, services, and programming for veterans and other community organizations.

The unveiling of this plan is a major milestone in our waterfront improvement efforts, but several additional steps remain, most notably detailed environmental review and public hearings required by State law, a process that should take twelve to eighteen months. Construction is likely to commence in 2010 or 2011.

Any development of this size and complexity entails challenges, but I am optimistic about success. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reclaim our waterfront for the public and create a vibrant setting that enhances our environment, economy, and quality of life. The benefits of this project to all residents of New Rochelle and our region will be enormous.