United Hospital Developer Hopeful a Housing and Retail Center Will Rise in Port Chester
Posted On May 10, 2022
After 17 years of boarded up windows and scattered mounds of debris, United Hospital could see a major mixed-use project get underway later this year.
Shut down in 2005, the United Hospital site in Port Chester has been an unsolvable puzzle for village officials looking to reverse the grotesque gateway as it stands now in the urban village.
But a member of the development team is hopeful final approvals will be granted in 2022 a year after it offered its initial pitch to the village.
Michael Adamo, managing director of development for Rose Associates, told The Journal News he hopes demolition work can occur on the site near the end of this year. He pinned the hopes on Rose and Bedrock Real Estate Partners nabbing approval for its final site plan that was submitted to the village at the end of April.
Adamo and former village trustee Frank Ferrara, who has advocated for the site's redevelopment, took The Journal News on a tour of the grounds in late March.
The property was desolate with misplaced tiles and vegetation growing out of barren pavement. The hospital's main building has been fenced off to prevent trespassers; Standing in front of that building, Adamo said the inside is what you'd expect from a long neglected hospital building.
"Nobody’s been in there, it’s been locked down," Adamo said. "It’s dark and dreary and surely not only we but I'm sure everyone else within the village are excited for the day that we bring the first construction vehicles and employees on site to start demolishing those structures."
The proposed project calls for mixed-use development that includes 775 multifamily housing units, 200 age-restricted units, a 120-room hotel and about 18,000 square feet of retail and restaurants. Of the 200 age-restricted homes, 90 would be independent living and 110 would be assisted living.
The developer recently cleared a few hurdles with the village board, including a zoning change that allows for assisted living in the village and a conceptual site plan. An amended findings statement that analyzes impacts of the site and mitigations measures was also signed off.
"At one point I think we had a grand design in place that we sadly came to the realization that was just impractical given the challenges of the site," Ferrara said. "I think the plan put in place is a compromise what we would like to see aspirationally as a village and what is actually practical."
The first plan, Ferrara references, was Starwood Capital Group's proposed a mixed-use project that included restaurants, retail, office apartments and a hotel that dates back almost a decade. But Starwood abruptly sold the parcel in 2017 before any work was done on the site.
Not everyone on board
The latest plan, for all its potential, still has its skeptics.
Richard Hyman, a Port Chester resident and chairman of the Westchester County Planning Board, doesn't think the plan best integrates into the village. He thought the Starwood plan was a better option.
The Westchester Planning Board criticized several aspects of the proposal in correspondence to the village last November.
The board, comprised of residents throughout Westchester, argued the redevelopment would be an "isolated campus" and failed to have a commercial presence on Boston Post Road, the entrance to the village. Additionally, by labeling assisted living as a commercial use, it might limit retail or other commercial uses for the site. The change to commercial also makes the affordable housing benchmark less clear because assisted living would be precluded from that requirement. "I want to see something built there, it's the most important site in Port Chester" Hyman said, speaking for himself. "But I think something that should be built there that's good for the village."
There appears to be a sense of urgency to transform the property from decrepit to dignified. Newly minted Trustee Joe Carvin called it "unconscionable" the parcel has sat there for almost two decades. "It leaves Port Chester with a horrific reputation in the banking, financing, development communities," Carvin said. "Makes clear we can't get our act together and it's like the gang that couldn't shoot straight." Carvin, a former town of Rye supervisor, said the village has lost tens of millions of dollars from not getting a project built sooner. He said whatever slight changes need to be made, be believes those negotiations will be straightforward.
"Broadly speaking the project seems to make sense," he said. Carvin is one of four new trustees who began their tenures on the board in early April and will determine the final steps of the project.
Trustee Joan Grangenois-Thomas, a veteran of the board, believes it's inevitable that the project goes up. But cautioned it's critical the village gets the final details correct.
Grangenois-Thomas said she'd like to see the developers embrace a good neighbor policy that would result in a job opportunities for building trades and residents once the project is up and running, as well as a community benefits agreement.
She also noted the project is designed in a way that is closed off from the rest of the surrounding area.
"It's going to happen one way or another, I think it's just a matter of details at this point," Grangenois-Thomas said.
Ferrara, who still heads the village's Industrial Development Agency, and Amado pointed out the topography of the site makes it difficult to create street level commercial space.
Leveling the site would cause major disturbances to other areas in Port Chester and Rye city, which is in close proximity to the project, Ferrara said.
The existing elevation of the site is about 30 feet higher than Boston Post Road. Adamo noted the development team's job to design the redevelopment to attract people to the site.
Adamo said any development that happens in Port Chester is going to be a "tremendous benefit economically for the village through generation of employment, generation of retail sales, generation of just a larger population residing, shopping, dining in the village."
See the original story at: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/port-chester/2022/…ovals-port-chesters-united-hospital-project-home-stretch/7133094001/SOURCE:
About Rose Associates, Inc.
Based in New York, Rose Associates is a developer, owner and operator of premium residential properties. From planning a new development to managing day-to-day property operations, the Rose 360 Platform offers a full range of services designed to maximize the value of real estate. The firm oversees more than 26,000 units across New York, with approximately $2 billion in projects under development. Rose recently opened the historic skyscraper 70 Pine Street, which the firm is transforming into a luxury rental property with 644 residential units, 132 extend-stay apartments and a destination restaurant/lounge occupying the top four floors.