Last week, Forest City Residential presented to the City Council revised plans for the Echo Bay waterfront. The new proposal, situated on roughly 11 acres bounded by East Main Street and Long Island Sound, envisions: parkland, housing, and shops; environmental remediation of contaminated land; and full public access to the shoreline.

This new configuration is based on a year of analysis by both the City and the developer. It reflects greater experience with the constraints and opportunities on the site, and it also accounts for significant changes in the economic climate since the project’s original conception back in 2007.

While smaller than first envisioned, the project would still have a dramatic effect on its surroundings. It would be New Rochelle’s largest new development in about 20 years and the largest new park in almost 40 years. In addition, it is laid out to permit integration into a broader redevelopment of the area and, thereby, serve as a catalyst for future waterfront improvements.

The plan anticipates the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the former Armory, and leaves judgments about the future of this structure to the City. The Council could opt to issue a request for proposals for the Armory and then embed the winning reuse model into the overall waterfront project.

The Council must now decide whether to adopt a fresh Memorandum of Understanding with Forest City Residential that reflects the content of this revised proposal. If the Council chooses to proceed, then Forest City will be responsible for an extensive (and costly) environmental review that would serve as the basis for further public discussion and comment.

You can learn much more in last week’s presentation from Forest City to the City Council.