At the August meeting of the White Plains Common Council dual public hearings on a zone text change and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the site at 200 Hamilton Ave., the former White Plains Mall, opened with a dramatic presentation.
Bill Null, attorney representing the owners of the property and the development and design team working on the project, explained that the 3.4-acre site is located within the Central Parking District in downtown White Plains and a Business District zone that allows retail.
The goal of a conceptual plan for redevelopment of the site, is to request the creation of a new White Plains TD-1 District that corresponds to the transit study recently conducted by the city in relation to its developing transit hub.
The new district would allow multi-use projects including residential as well as entertainment and retail uses.
If the zoning amendment is adopted, a future and separate site plan would be presented for approval that reflects the conceptual plan put forward at the public hearing.
Richard Heapes, co-founder of Street Works, a development and design company working on the project, said once all the paperwork is complete it would take 30 to 36 months to build the proposed project with a late 2021 to early 2022 grand opening.
The current building on the site is two stories and 170,000 sq.-ft. The proposed project would include four buildings, two with 26 stories at 280 feet height and two at 120-feet to accommodate 900 rental apartments and 90,000 sq.-ft. of retail and restaurants with appropriate parking.
According to Heapes, 36% of the space at the site would be dedicated to privately owned and managed open space for public use.
The sidewalk along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. would become a promenade and access for pedestrians to Cottage Place would be through a large food and crafts hall.
A terraced park would lead to an outdoor green space at the level of the 2nd floor of the current building.
During the comment portion of the public hearing, Michael Kraver, White Plains resident and Common Council candidate said the city needs to address the amount of luxury residences being built in White Plains at large.
Another resident commented about the lack of local union contractors on job sites within the city.
The public hearing was adjourned to the Sept. 5 meeting of the Common Council.
Another public hearing during the August meeting discussed the project named The Collection on Westchester Avenue across from the Westchester mall.
Marc Weingarten attorney representing the developer explained that the new proposed design was smaller than the original plan, down from 4 to 3 acres, with 276 residential units including 160 one-bedroom units, 25 studios and 91 two-bedroom units, with the required number of affordable units scattered throughout the project.
Retail was also included in the proposed plan at street level with subterranean parking serving both uses.
The purpose of the public hearing was to address two zoning amendments. One would allow the density of the B-3 and RM-0.35 zones to be combined and the second addressed the need to develop the site as a single site, rather than as two sites in two separate zones.
Residents speaking during the comment period, expressed concern about traffic problems and pedestrian safety on Westchester Avenue and Franklin Avenue, which they indicated was already unsafe.
The public hearing was adjourned to the Sept. 5 meeting of the Council.