From Old Mall to New Uses: Creating White Plains’ First Transit-Oriented Development Project

In the 1970s, the White Plains Mall was a 3.74-acre state-of-the-art shopping center that served as a bustling center for the City. Now, 50 years later, thanks to the vision of the City of White Plains and the assistance of Cuddy & Feder, the area will not only see new life, but will launch an exciting new era of development: White Plains’ first transit-oriented development, part of a new TD-1 District – Hamilton Green.

Transit-oriented development is focused on creating high-density, mixed-use spaces near a mass transit stop or hub promoting walkability and reducing dependence on, and land dedication to, cars. William S. Null of Cuddy & Feder, as lead counsel for WP Mall Realty LLC and SWD 3 LLC, successfully petitioned the City of White Plains to amend its zoning ordinance and grant site plan approval for redevelopment of a portion of the City’s downtown with a more walkable, transit-oriented development that will be a catalyst for encouraging increased pedestrian activity between downtown White Plains and the TransCenter.

In seeking amendment to the zoning ordinance, Cuddy & Feder petitioned to establish a new District Classification to be known as a TD-1 (Transit Development) District and to map the premises known and designated on the tax assessment map of the City of White Plains from B-2 (Neighborhood Business) District into the newly created TD-1 (Transit Development 1) District.

The new TD-1 District is a mixed-use district located within a one-third mile radius of the Metro-North railroad station that encourages a mix and density of development consistent with promoting alternative modes of transportation. To that end, the district seeks to integrate pedestrian, bicycle and transit supportive uses with a complementary mix of land uses. Developments that activate sidewalks and have a high level of connectivity with adjacent uses all within a comfortable walking and biking distance from the City’s TransCenter are incentivized and encouraged. The TD-1 District also provides architectural design guidelines consistent with the goals of transit-oriented development including active ground floor uses that create an appealing experience for pedestrians in the area.

WP Mall Realty LLC, SWD 3 LLC, Cuddy & Feder and the City’s elected officials and professional staff worked closely to refine architecture plans for Hamilton Green during the Environmental Impact Statement and Site Plan review process.

Hamilton Green was approved as a mixed-use development including 860 multi-family residential units, 27,000 square feet of office space, 85,400 square feet of retail and restaurant space, with a craft food market hall and over an acre of privately owned, publicly accessible open space. The open space is the focal point of the development providing ample landscaping, seating and public amenities in space that will be managed and activated, similar to Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center in New York City. This open space will bring an exciting dynamic to White Plains and to the four Hamilton Green residential buildings – two will be situated along Hamilton Avenue and will rise to 280-feet in height and two will be situated along Barker Avenue rising 150-feet in height.

Hamilton Green will bring new residents closer to downtown and the White Plains TransCenter, itself, which is undergoing a $92 million renovation. The craft food market hall will include a curated collection of individual vendors in a space operated by a single management entity that will primarily focus on specialty foods and beverages, hand-made products, high-quality crafts and other non-mass-produced items exhibited in smaller scale display areas. This market space will integrate with the surrounding streetscape and downtown area providing pedestrian-friendly access to the privately owned and managed, publicly accessible open space. The combination of density, unique retail experience and activated publicly accessible space will create a vibrant and exciting addition to the City of White Plains.

Transit-oriented development is the most recent trend in developing vibrant, livable, sustainable communities, and Cuddy & Feder is proud to be at the forefront of development in White Plains.