The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles wants to move its offices from the White Plains Mall on Hamilton Avenue to a nearby office building on Barker Avenue. The mall is slated to be torn down and replaced with the Hamilton Green mixed-use development. The DMV has been a prime tenant at the mall, which was built in 1974.
The Hamilton Green project by WP Mall Realty includes four buildings with a total of 860 apartments, more than 85,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 27,000 square feet devoted to coworking space, about 1,000 parking spaces and a public park. The cost of the project is estimated at just over $585 million.
The future of the DMV office has been a subject of speculation since the plan for the mall’s redevelopment was announced about two years ago. Although a lease had not been signed as of mid-May, attorney William S. Null of the law firm Cuddy & Feder told White Plains Mayor Tom Roach and members of the city’s Common Council in a letter that the DMV has agreed to the terms of a lease for space at 3 Barker Ave.
The owner of the office building, 3 Barker Avenue LLC, has asked the city to approve a Government Use Permit that is needed in order for the DMV to conduct business in the office building.
Plans for the new DMV space have been prepared by Warshauer Mellusi Warshauer Architects PC of Elmsford. The plans indicate there would be a first-floor waiting area where people will sign-in. They would then go up to the second floor where they will find service windows and other areas where they can get licenses, file vehicle registrations and complete other tasks. The plans call for space on the third floor for testing rooms, offices and employee lounges.
The Barker Avenue location is very close to the existing DMV office at the White Plains Mall, the Metro-North rail station and the bus station.
“The location proposed for the DMV is a desirable one to keep this governmental use in a convenient and accessible location for nearby residents and customers,” Null said.
Null stated that 3 Barker Ave. shares a parking structure with the adjacent building, 5 Barker Ave. Together they offer 246 parking spaces, 197 in the garage and the rest at grade level. Null said that the effects on the land-use pattern, natural environment, noise, traffic congestion and public services should be no different as a result of the move than they have been from DMV operations at the mall. He also said that the expected impacts on surrounding landowners should not be any different than they are currently experiencing from the operation of the DMV in the White Plains Mall.
Null characterized the 3 Barker Ave. location as “an optimum place for the relocation of the DMV, which had been an important focus of the city of White Plains since the current location in the downtown is convenient to pedestrians and those using mass transit.”
The Common Council has asked for comments from the city’s Traffic Division, Transportation Commission, Parking Department, Planning Board and Department of Public Works. It has scheduled a public hearing on the matter for July 1.