Starwood Capital updated the Port Chester Board of Trustees Monday night on its latest plan for the former site, where the company is looking to build an upscale multi-use development of retail shops and high rise apartments.
The project along Boston Post Road in Port Chester would include 820 apartments available at an average of 950 sq. ft. per unit. The units would consist of 5 percent studios, 47 percent 1 bedroom and 48 percent 2 bedroom.
Starwood for $28 million in 2006 a year after the hospital closed and the building has remained vacant ever since — with residents complaining the property has become an eyesore.
“Overall this is the single most important land use decision the Village of Port Chester will make possible the next 100 years,” said Mayor Dennis Pilla. “They are talking about adding hundreds of units, if they are units that are going to bring kids into the schools then frankly that’s a non-starter. There is a new demographic that’s emerging and the newer housing caters to that. This type of residential strategy is complementary to our overall strategy to attract that young upwardly mobile ‘Generation Y’ demographic.”
Port Chester residents and local officials have been concerned that residential development of the property could but new burdens on the Port Chester school system by increasing the student population.
“If the school system doesn’t get hurt, I’m keeping a very open mind to this,” said Village Board member Saverio Terenzi. “We’re headed in the right direction. The density is still an issue but if we can juggle the finances and show that this property can generate some real dollars, I’m willing to live with some density.”
Starwood is looking to set up a meeting with the Port Chester Board of Education to discuss and explain their proposition in an effort to come to an agreement. A meeting has not yet been scheduled.
“The people that we are looking to attract are the singles, mingles and jingles,” said Starwood representative James E. Raved. “Singles, mingles are people coming together to share an apartment and jingles are older people like empty nesters. Those demographics don’t generate a lot of children. We’re asking people to be open minded and not be scared to death of adding more school age children but to think of the positives.”
Another aspect of the Starwood plan would allocate 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space for small shops. Of the seven buildings in the blueprint handed out at Monday’s meeting, only two would contain retail space. The buildings would be four- and five-stories and only the first floor of the two buildings that would line Boston Post Road would be retail.
Parking must also be considered when adding the number of apartments that would be added to an already dense area. On the zoning data chart, Starwood has proposed 1,230 parking spaces for the 820 units, 170 surfaces parking spaces and 1,060 garage spaces. For the retail space, 120 surfaces parking spaces would be provided.
As the latest Starwood proposal for the former United Hospital comes on the table, Port Chester is also in the process of completing its Comprehensive Plan — a master guide for future development in the village and an update to its local zoning code.