The proposal by developer Mack-Cali to build a 22-story apartment building at 1 Water St. is making its way through the review process in White Plains.
The Business Journal first reported in May that the Jersey City-based real estate giant had plans to tear down its office building across from the White Plains Metro-North Railroad and put up a high-rise, mixed-use structure.
Mack-Cali briefed the Common Council on its plan during an Aug. 28 special meeting. The applicant is 1 Water Street LLC, a related entity of Mack-Cali Realty Corp.
The plan calls for a transit-oriented development containing 301 residential units and approximately 1,212 square feet of ground-floor retail space. There would be 307 parking spaces in a four-level parking structure. Amenities would include an outdoor pool, courtyard, fitness room, golf simulator, dog park and dog wash and a rooftop deck. An open space at the southeast corner of the site would be landscaped and made accessible to the public during daylight hours.
The applicant has proposed a land swap with the city’s Urban Renewal Agency that would involve the city discontinuing as a public right of way an unpaved portion of North Lexington Avenue. A piece of the street would be transferred to the applicant, which would in turn give the city land at the northern portion of its site, resulting in the city having a developable plot of land fronting on Ferris Avenue, across from a firehouse.
Jamie Stover, vice president for development at Roseland Residential Trust, a Mack-Cali company, told the Common Council that it would be a rental building.
“We don’t build condominium projects. This is all for rent,” he said. “We think the market at the train station is a rental market.”
Council member Justin Brasch said that the 1,212 square feet of retail space seemed small, prompting Stover to respond, “We’re really constrained. The concept for the retail would be sort of ‘grab-and-go’ coffee. That’s what we’re thinking at that location near the bus station, near the train station. That’s our concept right now. We’re very constrained here just in terms of fitting our own building operations in. We’d love to put more street-front retail. Frankly, we just don’t have the space.”
Council member Nadine Hunt-Robinson asked what they were doing to make the building more environmentally sustainable.
“We’re not doing solar,” Stover replied. “We’ve looked into solar across our profile and find that, in order for solar to work efficiently, you need much larger surface areas. It’s a much smaller building in terms of surface area, so it doesn’t really work. We are incorporating a lot of other sustainable features in the building such as bike storage, charging stations for electric vehicles, water submetering, low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce consumption, Energy Star appliances. So, we are very much in tune with sustainable measures.”
Stover said the dog park area they’re including is designed for residents only, not for public use.
“We find our residents love their pets and we need to provide an area for them,” he said. As far as the open space for public use, “It’s really meant to be a pocket park to enhance the walkability of that area and provide a little greenery there. It’s really passive with park benches and greenery and that sort of thing.”
The building’s façade would be a combination of glass, precast concrete and metal panels, and aluminum windows, doors and accents. The architectural firm on the project is Lessard Design Inc. of Vienna, Virginia. The White Plains-based land use and engineering firm Divney Tung Schwalbe prepared site details, landscape and lighting plans and other documents.
The attorney for the applicant, Janet Giris of the White Plains-based law firm DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr LLP, in a letter said the applicant has completed a full environmental assessment form and believes the project will not result in any significant adverse environmental impacts. She said the applicant believes the common council should adopt a negative declaration of significant environmental impacts. That would mean a full environmental impact statement would not have to be prepared.