New Rochelle is seeing the largest economic development initiative in its history, driven by the MTA’s Penn Station Access Project, which is extending connections to Penn Station and significantly reducing travel times into Manhattan. When the project is complete, New Rochelle will become the only city in southern Westchester to offer direct access to both the East and West sides of Manhattan. Soon to become such a rich transit-oriented location, New Rochelle will realize an unprecedented 9.2 million square feet of new residential development in its downtown area that is prioritizing the repair of urban renewal mistakes and addressing long-standing issues of equity. Beginning with the New Rochelle historic train station, which will soon see its own reimagining, we will visit several new residential developments and the new public park that is knitting together previously separated communities.
All roads lead to Journal Square! Always considered the “heart of Jersey City,” Journal Square has had a rich history of serving the entire city and county. The Square provides a great opportunity to secure the city’s economic future and create one of the truly great central business districts (CBDs) in the country. Beginning in early 2007 and culminating in summer 2010, the Journal Square vision plan came to life. The visionings effort was a true public/private effort, with local residents, businesspeople, anchor institutions such as Hudson County Community College/Saint Peters, and city officials working together over a three-year period to bring the plan to fruition. Adopted by the City Council in June 2010, the plan was honed at more than 30 community meetings, some large and some small, to get it right. The Journal Square plan, now the 2060 plan, has proved to be a remarkable success for the city’s CBD.
The plan, built around smart growth principles, now encompasses approximately 233 acres in the heart of the city. From the beginning, the 2060 Plan was embraced by the broad array of stakeholders that were deeply involved in the long process. The commitment to the plan can be seen not just in the award-winning Journal Squared Towers, but also with the wide range of mixed-use towers built or under construction in the Square. The heart of the 2060 plan was always about the smart transit-oriented development and transportation network that leads to the Square. The private sector had done its job by quickly sensing the potential of the Square and moving redevelopment forward at an unheard-of pace.
The plan is now in its 30th year and many of the original goals of the plan have been realized. The development of world-class, mixed-use towers has progressed at unprecedented speed. Moreover, the current development of both the historic Loews Theater and the Centre Pompidou is bringing arts and entertainment back to the Journal Square CBD. The Journal Square 2060 plan has clearly demonstrated that a shared redevelopment vision of the community and private and public sectors can lead to meaningful community renewal.
In the two decades since the federal government turned over control of Governors Island to New York City, city officials have sought an innovative way to use the 172-acre patch of land with stunning views of Lower Manhattan. The city chose a consortium led by Stony Brook University to transform one of the island’s last big chunks of developable land into a 400,000-square-foot hub called the New York Climate Exchange. The campus, which will focus on researching climate solutions and training for green jobs, is expected to open in 2028.
Until recently, the new Hudson Yards district was simply an open swath of space peering down upon the open Amtrak and New Jersey Transit railways below. Over the course of 30-plus years, a plan was devised to build over the rail yards and create a new Manhattan neighborhood, like the creation of the Park Avenue corridor in the late 1900s. What has grown out of multiple rezoning plans and creative development teams in tandem with city and state support is an incredibly vibrant new mixed-use neighborhood dominated by developments led by the Related Group (Hudson Yards) and Brookfield Properties (Manhattan West). Located adjacent to Pennsylvania Station and the newly redeveloped Moynihan Train Hall, these developments are easily accessible and set to become the newest hub for commerce and live/work/play. The final piece of the puzzle, connecting the sites to the elevated High Line public park, was completed earlier this year. This tour will explore the history of the Hudson Yards as a whole, the engineering and development challenges of building over the railways, and the overall thesis for its success.