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Yonkers Downtown Revitalization Plan

YONKERS – The City Council has approved a deal to transfer several acres of land to a development partnership promising a $1.5 billion makeover for downtown.

The redevelopment envisions the construction of 1,436 housing units, a 6,500-seat baseball stadium, a 150-room hotel, a new municipal justice center, new headquarters for the Fire Department, a 150,000-square-foot office building and the daylighting of the Nepperhan River with a river walk, among other elements.

The partnership Struever Fidelco Cappelli will lease or purchase the land along the waterfront, the Chicken Island parking lot next to Nepperhan Avenue, a municipal building at 87 Nepperhan Ave., a waterfront plot and other city-owned properties.

Only two council members voted against the land deal on Tuesday night: Councilwoman Sandy Annabi, D-2nd District, and Councilwoman Joan Gronowski, D-3rd District, both of whom represent district in or near the redevelopment area.

Annabi said there were not enough benefits for the minority communities she represents and that the project would not be a sufficient tax revenue producer for the city.

“For 30 years we are not going to be generating the revenue that this project should be,” she said.

Last month a City Council consultant projected that the city would receive $153 million in revenues in the first 30 years under the city’s development agreement with SFC.

The next step in the redevelopment process is a public hearing, which has not yet been set.

Mayor Philip Amicone, a longtime proponent of downtown redevelopment, is expected to sign the deal after that hearing.

The agreement gives SFC four years to begin construction on River Park Center, the retail complex envisioned for the Chicken Island parking lot.

Joseph Apicella of SFC praised the City Council’s vote and said that the partnership will begin outreach to major retailers. Once there is a commitment from retailers, Apicella said SFC would seek financing.

“Now I can go out and market this and say we have ownership interest and we have control of the land,” Apicella said.

In other business, the City Council approved a $12.5 million bond ordinance for the redevelopment of Ashburton Avenue, while delaying votes on $25 million in bonds for 16 Yonkers school renovation projects and on an ordinance for residential parking near the Yonkers Raceway.

City Council President Chuck Lesnick said council members had questions for the city’s finance commissioner, who was not at the meeting.

EE&K Project Description

LoHud, October 15, 2009

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