GovernmentThe Examiner

Hearing Set for North 60 Following FEIS Completeness Vote

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John Fareri, the CEO of Fareri Associates, which is proposing to build the North 60 at the Grasslands campus in Valhalla.

The Mount Pleasant Planning Board last week accepted the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the North 60 project near the Westchester Medical Center as complete and scheduled a Feb. 3 public hearing on the document.

Acceptance of the FEIS came 10 days after the project received a $3 million Empire State Development grant toward the $1.2 billion project that would see the construction of a bio-science, technology research and development center for the Grasslands campus.

There are 60 undeveloped acres just north of the medical center that is owned by Westchester County, which is leasing the land for 99 years to developer Fareri Associates. Another 20 acres adjacent to that parcel is owned by the developer.

The proposed three million-square-foot project would be built in three phases with nearly 500,000 square feet as part of the first phase. That includes about 220,000 square feet of biotech and research space, 100,000 square feet of medical offices and a 100,000-square-foot hotel. The balance of the Phase 1 construction would be retail. 

“We’re going to accept it for completeness so we can schedule it for a public review,” said Planning Board Chairman Michael McLaughlin. “Completeness says that it’s complete enough for the public and anybody else interested (to) take a look at it, critique it or come to us.”

A spokesman for Fareri Associates CEO John Fareri said last week that the developer is hopeful that if all goes smoothly and the project receives the local planning approval, construction on the first phase can begin during the first part of next year.

It is estimated that the project will bring more than 1,100 jobs to the area, according to Fareri Associates, which now refers to the project as North 80.

The project is expected to enhance the area’s growing reputation as a leading bioscience, research and medical technology hub with the medical center, New York Medical College and a portion of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ sprawling campus located in town.

As originally proposed, the full project calls for more than 2.1 million square feet of research space and medical offices.

During the scoping session in June 2019 and the public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement last year, concerns focused on potential traffic problems and mitigation that would be caused by the additional volume in an area where many residents have already complained that the roads are overloaded.

This fall the Town of Mount Pleasant has moved ahead with traffic studies to look at the area near the medical center and the North 60 land in Valhalla across to Route 9A in Hawthorne near the site of the Amazon warehouse and distribution center because of intensifying complaints about congestion.

Environmental issues, including making sure that geothermal and renewable energies are used was also a focus during prior public sessions.

North 60 was one of 97 projects across the state that received $81 million in funding. They were announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Nov. 22.

“As we move forward from the pandemic, we are using the rolling grant process to build New York State back better by supporting shovel-ready projects with the potential to accelerate new investments and catalyze economic growth in every community,” Hochul said in a statement following announcement of the grants.

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