New Rochelle has a new Commissioner for Development – Luiz Aragon. Well, I should not say new as Mr. Aragon started in his position in February of 2013, and was instrumental in the installation of ‘smart meters’. He is certainly a visionary, and has many plans for New Rochelle.. Wonderful, exciting plans, and when you hear him speak, you feel that excitement too…
Mr. Aragon sees New Rochelle as a village trapped within the body of a city (I rather like that analogy), and he envisions preservation, privatization of the parking meters with private companies..
He reached out to Columbia University last year where their Earth Institute offers a “Sustainability Essentials Training Program for people who wish to explore the concepts and principles of sustainability and who want to learn how to introduce sustainability practices into their organizations, new projects, and other aspects of their lives.” The “Urban Design Lab” offered invaluable insight to Mr. Aragon’s office with two different approaches. One group addressing New Rochelle’s waterfront and Davids’ Island, and the other group looking at our downtown, and what could be envisioned for both. He felt that by recruiting students with their no nonsense approach, he would obtain valuable and insightful suggestions.
“People need to dream to get to the future” Mr. Aragon quoted, and his dreams are captivating. He would love to see the traffic slow down.. Why? People are too busy cutting through New Rochelle to avoid the toll charge on the I:95 but they are not stopping to enjoy what we have to offer. The city has sought out the expertise of Nelson Nygaard , transportation gurus for a Transit Oriented Development Focus (TOD). People ‘behave differently” when they have to slow down.. Perhaps creating a loop, but endeavoring to attract pedestrians in the area, to enjoy our great city and partake in its many restaurants. Mr. Aragon has entitled different areas of our downtown and Echo Bay such as ‘The East Gateway”, ‘the West Gateway’,’ 1:95 Gateway’, “Echo Bay” and “North Avenue Gateway” . So many wonderful ideas such as a 40 story building housing a new train station, and many more buildings all to promote pedestrian flow, a better lifestyle for all, with pathways to new parks, a pathway over the I:95, a hotel, bike lanes. It is projected that eminent domain will have to be utilized to make this dream a reality….
A summary of the new development includes 2242 new residential units, 500,000 sq. ft. for retail, 5,580,5429 additional office square footage, a 463 room hotel.. Parking? Everyone wants to know about parking.. There are currently 11,359 parking spaces, and the design would require 14,573 parking spaces as required by current CPA ratios. 9,443 additional parking spaces would be required in the revised CPA ratios.
There is to be an Advisory Coalition entitled ORACLE (Opportunity New Rochelle Advisory Coalition of Leaders & Entrepreneurs) headed by Marketing & Tourism, Small Business Cluster, Education & Health Cluster, Mobility & Transportation Cluster and a Real Estate & Development Cluster. I was one of the real estate professionals invited to today’s meeting. Mayor Bramson popped in to eloquently add his thoughts on the subject. All exciting, and I will keep you all posted!
New Rochelle is GREAT!