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Mayor and Deputy Mayor Provide Update on Development at Freightway Site

East EndMayor Marc Samwick and Deputy Mayor Jane Veron sat down recently to discuss the May 15th public forum that will be held at Rutherford Hall at 7:00pm to address the redevelopment of the Freightway parking garage. Here is what they shared:

We have been hearing a lot about the redevelopment of the Freightway parking garage; what’s going on with the project?

MS The Freightway parking garage was built in 1972 and is currently in need of nearly $2.5 million of repair and upgrade work. After looking at the very successful development of Christie Place, the Village Board decided to assess resident interest in the potential redevelopment of the Freightway garage site. For those of you who might remember, Christie Place was nearly built as a stand-alone parking garage at taxpayer’s expense. At the last minute, the Christie Place project shifted and is now a vibrant residential and retail hub with below-grade parking for village residents. Learning from that experience, in 2017, the Village Board chose to take a proactive approach, initiating a visioning study. The results showed support for a redevelopment under a model similar to that of Christie Place.

JV We are fortunate that at this moment when we are considering the possibilities for Freightway, the development community has demonstrated strong interest in transit-oriented development (TOD). With the goal of attracting millennials and empty nesters, many neighboring communities have pursued TOD opportunities. In this environment, Scarsdale has the chance to evaluate again a potential taxpayer funded parking garage as compared to a new residential and parking structure funded by a private developer. If Scarsdale enters into a public-private partnership, the mixed-use development would seek to integrate both sides of our Village Center and to create sustainable benefits to our community, such as public open space and better pedestrian connectivity, all funded by the developer.

Where are we in the process and how can we expect the process to continue going forward?MarcSamwickMarc Samwick

JV Last July, we initiated a two-step process to engage with the development community. At that time, we issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) to private developers who might be interested in partnering with the Village to create a new hub that would bring vitality to our Village Center. The foundation for the RFEI were the guiding principles developed by the community through the visioning study. We were very pleased to receive seven responses from top developers that addressed these principles. The next step in the process will be to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP), where the development community is asked to offer more detailed plans. The process continues with interviews, presentations and ultimately the selection of a Preferred Developer; negotiation of a mutually acceptable development agreement with the Preferred Developer; and the standard land use process which will include the Planning Board, Board of Architectural Review and the Village Board.

What’s happening at this Community Engagement Meeting and why is it important to attend?

MS - The Village recently retained a planning firm, AKRF, to advise the Village on the Freightway project. AKRF has extensive experience throughout Westchester County, the New York Metropolitan Area and the Boston-Washington corridor and has worked on TOD projects involving the MTA. They bring valuable experience to the project. The meeting on May 15th is designed to introduce AKRF to the community and to provide the community with the opportunity to express its preferences about the redeveloped Freightway site prior to the issuance of a Request for Proposals in June. Residents are encouraged to review the responses to the RFEI here prior to the public forum.

What is the timeline for the next steps in the project?

MS - As I mentioned, on May 15th we will hold a Community Engagement Meeting at 7 pm in Rutherford Hall with our planning consultant, AKRF. The intent of the meeting is to bring residents up to date on the Freightway process and to engage the public prior to issuing the RFP. The Village expects to issue the RFP in June 2019. The development community has been waiting to hear back from the Village since the RFEI submissions were provided in October 2018. We expect the RFP process to result in the selection of a Preferred Developer later in the year.

Anything else?

JaneVeronheadshotJane VeronJV - We encourage residents to attend the May 15th Community Engagement Meeting to hear more about the Freightway process and to share their preferences for the redevelopment of Freightway prior to the issuance of the RFP.

MS - The Village Board started with extensive resident input through the visioning study and will continue to seek resident input throughout the process at events such as this public forum.

JV - The Village Board is focused on issues that matter to residents, namely the potential impact on parking, traffic and schools among others. There will be ample time to address these matters, and other potential concerns, as we better understand the plans that are developed for the Freightway site.

MS - We believe that we are embarking on a project that can materially enhance our Village Center, and we look forward to creating a shared vision with the community.

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