The New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency gave preliminary approval June 26 for tax breaks for a $64 million, 24-story hotel that could transform a scruffy, isolated wedge of industrial land into a commanding gateway to the city.
The agency accepted estimates by Ward Capital Management LLC of Dobbs Ferry for $4.1 million in sales and mortgage tax exemptions and a 20-year property tax abatement deal worth $16.7 million.
“It’s hard to contain my excitement,” Luiz Aragon, commissioner of development, said at the IDA meeting. “When this happens, it will be completely transformative. It will change how people perceive our city.”
The hotel would be built at 115 Cedar St., between the New England Thruway (I-95) and Metro-North Railroad tracks. The site is in the thick of the tangled Exit 16 interchange and ring road that simultaneously connect travelers to downtown New Rochelle yet isolate the property.
The land was once a quarry, and the property includes a 4-story structure built in 1905 for manufacturing and occupied most recently by Don Coqui, a Puerto Rican restaurant and lounge. A CubeSmart self-storage facility bounds the site on two sides.
Aragon likened the location to the mixed-industrial and commercial streets in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
D’Wayne Prieto, Ward Capital’s founder, was familiar with the place because his wife, Jewelle Prieto, was co-owner of Don Coqui.
He bought the property a year ago for $3,650,000, and mortgaged it back to the previous owner, Gary Strutin of Cedarland LLC, for $2,550,000.
The plan is to renovate and convert the 4-story building into an events space and connect it to a 225-room hotel.
Architect Greg Sharp’s designs include a 340-car garage, restaurant, banquet hall, conference rooms, spa, and rooftop pool with a bar and grill.
Seventy-five rooms would be larger than typical hotel rooms, at 400 to 500 square feet, to attract guests who want to stay for several weeks at a time.
Wyndham Hotels Group would operate the hotel, under the TRYP brand that targets tourists and millennials who want a full array of amenities.
The developer also plans to landscape the highway medians. A pedestrian bridge over Cedar Street and a walkway along the railroad tracks would connect the hotel and events center to downtown and to the train station, nearly a half-mile away.
The developer estimated that the project will create 300 construction jobs, and then 250 fulltime and 50 part-time jobs.
The IDA will hold a public hearing, before considering final approval of tax subsidies.
The planning board approved project plans on June 25.
Ward hopes to begin construction in January, according to its IDA application, and complete it by June 2021.