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Freightway Steering Committee Presents Recommendations for Mixed Use Developement

Freightway SiteAfter a year of workshops, forums, surveys, walking tours and research, the Freightway Steering Committee has released their report with recommendations for the development of the Freightway site in Scarsdale. The village owned parking garage and open lots comprise 2.5 acres on the west side of the train tracks just south of the Scarsdale Train station. There is the garage itself with about 700 spaces, the open lot to the north and the smaller Beatty lot to the south. The study also considers possible development over the Metro North train tracks.

The committee was led by former Scarsdale Mayor Jonathan Mark and included residents, realtors, the Village Planner, a member of the Scarsdale School Board, a Village Trustee and an assistant Village Manager. They worked with BFJ Planning to identify the goals for the project, to make assumptions about future usage and analyze potential impact on factors like parking, traffic and school enrollment.

The report includes four potential development scenarios that can be considered by developers interested in making a formal proposal on developing the site. The intent of this work was to create a study with information and data that could be given to companies who wish to bid on the project. NeighborhoodCharacter

Mark emphasized that all stakeholders had been consulted and included in the discussions which yielded the identification of the seven principles to guide any future redevelopment of the site.

The extensive study, which is available online here fully examines the site, the challenges, the history of Freightway, zoning, demographics, the character of Scarsdale Village and even considers the future, when autonomous cars and ride sharing might become the norm.

One impetus for development now is that the Freightway Garage is currently in need of repairs. The estimated cost is $1.8 million for general and structural improvements, $250,000 for LED lights and another $250,000 for repairs to the façade, for a total of $2.3 million. This expense would merely repair the structure that is currently in use.

Freightway was built in 1972 and since that time it has been the subject of many planning studies all of which recommended that the site be developed into a mixed use project with parking, residential and retail. A 2010 Village Center plan recommended that at the very least the lot should be landscaped but also called for exploration of mixed-use development on the site.

HarwoodThis latest study analyzes the demographics of Scarsdale, finding that the population has been relatively flat, grown only 2.6% since from 2010-2015. The number of households fell from 5,662 in the year 2000 to 5,487 in 2015. It also found that 45 percent of Scarsdale workers commute using public transportation, which is more than double the average for the county as a whole.

The study examines local zoning code, building materials, design and maximum building heights as a basis for guidelines for development of Freightway. It also considers the current parking needs of the community and projects how these needs could be met during construction and by the completed project.

Furthermore it examines pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the area, access to the site and considers how the development could minimize congestion at peak hours.

Included in the report are two case studies of similar projects that were built in Bronxville, TuckahoeScarsdale (Christie Place) and Tuckahoe. In Tuckahoe a 108-unit four story, two building apartment complex with retail space was built near the train station. The $50 million project generates $100,000 a year in property tax revenue and includes a fitness center, club room, terrace with gardens, a fire pit and onsite parking and retail.

The outcome of all this research and outreach were the identification of seven principles to guide the development of the site:

They are as follows:

Improve Parking and Circulation

Ensure that public benefits are achieved by any development

Ensure contextual development (scale, bulk, height)

Encourage mixed-use development supportive of the Village Center

Connect and integrate the Freightway Site with the Village Center

Include environmentally sustainable development

Plan for the long-term future, within a reasonably practicable time horizon

scenario4The report proposes four development scenarios that incorporate fiscal and physical constraints and reflect the vision of the study. The three portions of the site and the area over the train tracks could all be incorporated in varying configurations. The study examines potential costs, impact on the schools and on Scarsdale's services and infrastructure. The development could add anywhere from 134 to 320 residents to Scarsdale and bring a maximum of 20 students to the district, as the development is targeted toward millenials and empty nesters.

It concludes with a recommendation that Village seeks Request for Qualifications (RFQ) or Requests for Proposals (RFP) to take possible development to the next step.

The process, the data and the resulting report provide goals and guidelines and a well-defined road map for future development of the site. Take a look at this impressive study here

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