BOT Announces Finalists for Freightway Development
- Tuesday, 03 December 2019 08:25
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 03 December 2019 10:44
- Published: Tuesday, 03 December 2019 08:25
- Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 3265
Planning for the redevelopment of the Freightway site reached another milestone on Tuesday November 26 when the Scarsdale Board of Trustees announced the names of two developers selected as finalists. The finalists are Avalon Bay Communities and a joint proposal from LCOR and East End Capital.
Trustees Jane Veron and Justin Arest and Mayor Marc Samwick reviewed the background of the project, reminding residents that the Freightway Garage was constructed in 1971 and needs $2.5 million in repair and maintenance by 2022. Over the next 20 years it is anticipated that the existing garage would need extensive repairs or possibly need to be replaced at a cost of $25 million in today’s dollars.
The goal of the 2-acre development is to improve the aging parking structure and to enhance the Village center in a viable and sustainable way. The development is in line with the Village’s comprehensive plan and the advice of Village planning consultants. The transit-oriented development seeks to create a vibrant, livable, and walkable development in the community with the potential to enhance the entirety of the Village.
Here’s some information about the two finalists:
The first is Avalon Bay Communities, led by architects Perkins Eastman. Over the past decade they have built over 2,000 apartments in Westchester, among them the Avalon in Harrison, Avalon Yonkers and most recently Avalon White Plains, a 14 story, 393-unit apartment tower near the train station in White Plains.
In Scarsdale, Avalon is proposing to build a 6-level parking garage with 650 spaces, 225 residential apartments in a 5 story building over the residential parking garage and a Village Plaza at the corner of Popham Road and Scarsdale Avenue.
The group that is led by LCOR and East End Capitol also proposes to build 225 residential units, ground level retail and “improved vehicular and pedestrian experiences in a new parking structure.” LCOR is backed by the California State Teacher’s Retirement System.
The finalists will make presentations of their design concepts to the community on December 11 at 7 pm at Village Hall. This will be followed by a 45-day public comment period to garner as much input as possible. Residents will be able to comment on presentation boards in Village Hall, at a dedicated email address and via a link on the Village website that will be open to accept input. Input can also be given after the presentations on December 11. All comments will be reviewed and responses will be provided after January 23.
According to the Mayor, the Board of Trustees will continue to do their due diligence by conducting tours of the developers projects in the area and meetings with the developers.
Samwick reiterated that, “any community development project must provide a net benefit to the community.” He said, “Doing nothing is also an option. It is not a free option as there are already short and medium term expenses with maintaining the parking garage.” He reassured the community that the “Trustees are focused on the same issues that concern you – such as impact on the schools, parking, fiscal and Village impacts. We are residents too – and we care about these matters deeply.”
He said that they hope to select the preferred developer last in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2020. He encouraged everyone to attend the community meeting on December 11.
Update on Village Attorney
The Mayor provided an update on the status of the search for outside counsel to replace the current in-house Village Attorney. He said that “many comparably sized communities-and our school district – utilize outside counsel. Based on information by the selection committee the Board believes that outside counsel can provide deep legal experience and expertise and a high level of service at cost that is comparable to maintaining an inside counsel. The Board expects a resolution at the December 10 meeting to engage a law firm – to start sometime in January.”
The Mayor praised the Village Managers Office, Department of Public Works and the Village Engineer for seeking and securing highly-competitive grants to fund three major capital projects planned for the Village. These include the dredging and restoration of Cayuga Pond, mitigation of flooding along the Hutchinson River and repair of the Heathcote Bridge. Samwick said that the abutments of Heathcote Bridge are 100 years old as are many sections of our water system.
Leaf Pick Up
Village Manager Steve Pappalardo reminded residents that the fall leaf program is in full force – until Friday December 6. He reported that he has only received one complaint about leaf collection and that’s a good sign that the collection is going well.
As of November 26, the Village had collected 70% of the anticipated total volume, picking up
1,370 truck loads and collecting 3,300 tons of leaves. By the end of the season they expect to collect an additional 1,400 tons of leaves. He reminded residents that leaf piles should be on the grass, not in the roadway in violation of village code. Leaf piles narrow the roadway, create obstructions, block catch basins and may create flooding.
Christmas Tree Lighting
The annual Christmas tree and menorah lighting will be held this Friday December 6 from 5-7 pm. There will be Christmas carolers, food, activities for the kids and a visit from Santa, who will arrive by fire truck. Everyone is encouraged to come to the Village. The Scarsdale Library will host kids’ crafts.
New Asian Fusion Sushi Restaurant in the Village
Trustee Veron provided good news about retail tenants in Scarsdale Village. A new Asian fusion restaurant called Akai Asian Fusion Sushi Lounge has signed the lease for the space formerly occupied by Lange’s Deli and will begin to build out the space soon.