The City Council has chosen an adaptive reuse concept and development team for the former Armory on East Main Street. Our designated proposal seeks to rehabilitate the Armory into a regional dining and food hub. Advanced by a group called Good Profit, this ambitious proposal also envisions a glass enclosed event or performance hall in the building’s foreground, as well as interior space dedicated to veterans services.
The Council’s selection follows a careful review of two submissions made in response to a request for proposals issued several months ago, as well as supplementary information requested by our Department of Development.
As I noted in a prior post, the Council evaluated each submission according to the quality of its vision, the realism of its assumptions, and the relevant experience and demonstrated professionalism of its team.
The Good Profit concept struck a chord with many Council Members and residents. The word “restaurant” doesn’t quite capture the goal. Think instead of a combination of Eataly, Chelsea Market, Stone Barns, and Faneuil Hall, and you’ll be closer to the mark … a place where you can enjoy the bounty of local agriculture, obtain prepared items from specialty vendors, or have a sit-down meal in a unique and dramatic setting. This kind of regional food destination would certainly complement our larger plans for the Echo Bay waterfront and could also help encourage spin-off ventures at other locations in New Rochelle.
“Good Profit” comes to the table with an impressive array of talent and impeccable professional credentials. The skill and experience of their team was evident in the quality of their submission, in their presentation to the City Council, and in the comprehensive and timely nature of their responses to inquiries from our staff. The rehabilitation of the Armory is a business proposition, and the City must judge potential partners on this basis.
Our next step will be the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will establish a timeframe for developing the proposal more fully and for identifying obstacles and solutions. The MoU will give the Good Profit team time to obtain the private financial commitments necessary for the project to be viable. (Preliminary cost estimates are approximately $26 million — a tall order, but one in which Good Profit expresses confidence.) The terms of an MoU are expected to be considered and voted upon by the City Council next month. To be clear, there are no guarantees at this stage, but the possibilities are exciting, and if Good Profit succeeds, then all of us will benefit.
If you’re interested in my remarks at last night’s City Council meeting, you can find the video archive here. My comments start just before the 2-hour mark. (Don’t worry, you can fast-forward.)