Charles B. Strome III was pleased with the plans for a new public works facility.
As city manager of New Rochelle, he has seen some 15 plans to replace the outmoded City Yard at 224 Main St. Now time is running out. The city must shut down and decontaminate the public works yard to make way for the $300 million Pratt Landing mixed-use development at Echo Bay.
“This is one of my happier moments,” Strome, chairman of the city’s Industrial Development Agency, said at the Nov. 2 meeting about plans for 70 Nardozzi Place.
The IDA board gave the project preliminary approval and set a public hearing for Nov. 29.
The developers, Simone Development Cos. in the Bronx and G&S Investors in Manhattan, are asking the IDA for tax relief for the $48 million project.
They want an exemption from the mortgage recording tax, an exemption from an estimated $2 million in sales tax on construction and equipment purchases and a property tax abatement estimated at $308,000 a year for 25 years.
The project is eligible for tax deductions because it includes commercial components. Public works would use 130,000 square feet on the ground level for offices and a garage. The second level would include 37,000 square feet for an LA Fitness health club, 3,000 square feet for retail and 209 rooftop parking spaces. A five-story tower would contain 70,000 square feet for a self-storage facility.
The property is next to Interstate 95 and squeezed in between a Home Depot and a Costco Wholesale store. G&S Investors built the Costco in the late 1990s. Simone built a structure on the opposite side of Nardozzi Place that houses an Ashley Furniture HomeStore and Party City.
The 3.9-acre site is not big enough to contain all of public works. The city is using eminent domain to take 54 Nardozzi Place, where Paul Spadaccini runs Auto Sunroof of Larchmont, for additional offices and a fueling station. The Beechwood transfer station will continue to be used for storing salt, handling yard waste and parking garbage trucks.
The parcel at 70 Nardozzi is tight. Designers had to allow enough room inside for large trucks to turn around, and it would be mostly building with little landscaping.
As anyone who has tried to get to Costco or Home Depot on a weekend knows, traffic on Nardozzi Place can be a nightmare. The new building would increase traffic substantially, according to the project’s environmental assessment, and public works would be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.
But Strome said most trucks would be leaving at 7 a.m. and returning at 3 p.m. on weekdays, when people are not shopping.
The city would contribute $22.6 million to the project, including $17.9 million to build the shell and $4.7 million to equip it.
It would lease the space from the developers for $260,000 a year for 45 years, with the possibility of extending the deal to 65 years.
If the city tried to build the facility on its own, Strome said, it would probably cost 30 to 40 percent more.
“I take particular pride in this,” he said. “This is not an easy thing to build.”
Construction could begin by the end of the year and be finished in 14 to 18 months. About 200 construction workers would be employed.
“This is something we’ve been struggling with ever since I’ve been on council, which is six years,” said Ivar Hyden, a member of the IDA board. “This is by far the best plan that we’ve seen.”
“It’s the best plan,” said Luiz Aragon, commissioner of development, “at the best price.”