Downtown Vision Takes Shape

Wide ShotOur vision for downtown New Rochelle is taking shape – a walkable, culturally vibrant, inclusive urban center that takes maximum advantage of our unparalleled location, and offers exciting opportunities to live, work, play, and shop.

Last night, New Rochelle’s master development team at RDRXR presented their Recommended Action Plan or “RAP.”  Today, you can read the entire document online (warning: it’s a big download) or watch the presentation to the Council.

The product of months of hard work and extensive community input, the RAP lays out design criteria, height restrictions, planning strategies, and infrastructure improvements for different portions of the Main Street area and lower North Avenue corridor.  These recommendations will be the basis for a proposed overlay zone that is likely to come before the City Council by the end of this year.

Proposed Downtown Overlay Zone Boundaries
Proposed Downtown Overlay Zone Boundaries

The RAP also suggests a market-supported balance of commercial and residential construction, totaling millions of square feet – the largest and most ambitious development effort in the modern history of the Hudson Valley.  These targets will be the subject of a comprehensive environmental review, also likely to conclude by the end of this year.

Together, the zoning and the completed environmental analysis will reduce barriers to future private investment by establishing clear, predictable development rights, and by eliminating the high cost of project-specific environmental reviews.  More than ever before, New Rochelle will be open for business and ready to welcome any investor who shares our vision.

The forward-looking action items within the RAP are its most important features, but the discussion of historical development patterns is also worth a look and offers helpful context for current decision-making.

There’s much more hard work ahead, and I certainly won’t be satisfied until there are shovels in the ground.  But the release of the RAP is a major milestone in the City’s ongoing downtown revitalization efforts, and I’m excited about New Rochelle’s prospects.