FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2012
SCHUMER URGES METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY TO PARTNER WITH CITY OF YONKERS & EXPEDITE PLANS TO MOVE BUS DEPOT FROM CITY’S WATERFRONT – PLAN WOULD PAVE WAY FOR MASSIVE WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT AND HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN INVESTMENT
MTA Bus Depot in Yonkers Sits on Prime Waterfront Redevelopment Area – Schumer Calls on MTA to Work with City of Yonkers to Find New Site for Bus Facility & Allow Master Waterfront Redevelopment Plan to Swiftly Move Forward – Over 150-Acre Area Being Cleaned Up and Readied for Large- Scale, Mixed-Use Waterfront Community
MTA Should Move Bus Facility to Mutually Agreed Upon Location That Avoids Service Disruptions, Is Affordable, and Permits City to Transform Yonkers Waterfront into Next Great Destination in New York State
Schumer to MTA: All’s Too Quiet on the Yonkers Waterfront
Today, at the MTA Bus Depot in Yonkers, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to partner with the City of Yonkers and expedite plans to find a new site for MTA’s bus facility, which will allow the city’s innovative waterfront redevelopment program to move forward. The City of Yonkers’s Alexander Street Waterfront Master Plan project aims to bring new life to the Westchester County waterfront by developing a large-scale, mixed-use waterfront community, but the current location of the MTA’s bus depot and administration building on the waterfront in Yonkers sits in the heart of the proposed development area.
Senator Schumer called on the MTA to fast-track negotiations with the City of Yonkers to open up the prime waterfront real estate that is critical to the plan, and could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in a new waterfront community. Schumer stated that he believes that the MTA facilities can be relocated without disrupting the service in the area. Schumer will encourage the MTA to seek a mutually beneficial arrangement in which affordable and alternate locations can be found for the bus stations in Yonkers or nearby, allowing the waterfront redevelopment to move forward.
“As of today, all’s too quiet on the Yonkers waterfront,” said Schumer. “Luckily, the City of Yonkers has a plan to change all that, by taking more than 150 acres of land on the Hudson River, cleaning it up and preparing it for a vibrant, mixed-use waterfront community. But the poorly-sited MTA bus depot is smack dab in the middle of this waterfront redevelopment effort. That is why I am urging the MTA to step-up its efforts to work with Yonkers to find a new site that is appropriate and affordable. Working together, I know we can get this done because, bottom line, it makes no sense to have a bus depot on prime riverfront real estate.”
Schumer was joined by City of Yonkers Deputy Mayor Sue Gerry, Westchester County Legislative Chairman Ken Jenkins, and Hudson Valley economic development officials as he touted Yonkers’s waterfront redevelopment plan. The ambitious several-hundred-million-dollar waterfront redevelopment plan aims to redevelop a 153-acre strip of land. The redevelopment will bring a variety of mixed use and public amenity projects to the city, including retail, housing, public parks and marinas, and a hotel and conference center. Currently, many properties along the waterfront are industrial brownfields, which pose an environmental and economic threat to the region. The plan, developed in coordination with businesses, environmental, and civic groups throughout the city has received wide spread support and will leverage the cities unique proximity and access to the Hudson River. The comprehensive development of the Yonkers waterfront has created sustainable recreational and park space along with new housing and residential space - creating a one of the kind waterfront which will attract tourists, new businesses and create jobs in our backyard.
“It is critical that we move forward with this visionary plan to transform Yonkers into the next great place to live, work, and visit in New York. The waterfront redevelopment plan is a boon to the city and to the region, and – with the MTA bus depot in the heart of the proposed development – I am urging these two groups to work towards an affordable and alternate location, that does not disrupt bus service, so that it can move forward. If the MTA does not come to a quick agreement with Yonkers to re-locate their operations elsewhere, the Alexander Street project cannot proceed as planned, stifling the economic development of Yonkers and the surrounding Hudson River Valley,” Schumer continued.
Schumer noted that one section of the 153-acre strip that the City of Yonkers plans to redevelop is currently owned by the City of New York, but managed by the MTA, which uses the properties to house a 76,000 square-foot administrative building as well as eight mobile service stations that coordinate the approximately 80 area buses. The plot of land was purchased by New York City in January 2005 and has been used to service bus routes that operate mostly in the Bronx, even though the property lies in the Urban Renewal Area pegged by Yonkers for major redevelopment projects.
Schumer called on the MTA to resolve this issue through cooperating with Yonkers to find a new location to relocate the bus depot and administrative building. Schumer stressed that the relocation of MTA facilities does not hinder the efficiency of the area’s public transportation. Schumer believes that the city should work with the transit authority to find new locations that will ensure continued, optimal service for the area’s commuters. He also emphasized that site developers, along with Yonkers itself, should aid the MTA in its search for alternate properties that pose no environmental or financial strain for any of the involved parties.
“Bringing a fair settlement to fruition will allow redevelopment to occur immediately – spurring hundreds of million dollars in potential investment and sparking economic growth throughout Yonkers. This redevelopment will bring new quality of life projects to the Hudson River for all residents of the Hudson Valley, create new business opportunities for small business owners throughout New York State and create a long-term revenue stream for the taxpayers of Yonkers,” said Schumer.
A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below:
Dear Mr. Lhota,
I write to you today to bring to your attention a major redevelopment project along the City of Yonkers’s waterfront and to ask for your assistance in matters related to this exciting initiative. Since 2006 the City of Yonkers has invested both time and capital in the Alexander Street Waterfront Redevelopment plans. This plan is intended to reinvigorate the waterfront area by identifying a total of 153 acres for a variety of mixed use and public amenity projects, including retail, housing, public parks and marinas, and a hotel and conference center. It is my belief that this project will rejuvenate economic development in an area that was formally blighted and bring new life to the Westchester County waterfront. It is my understanding, from the City of Yonkers, that developers are ready to invest resources in the hundreds of millions of dollars in clean-up and construction of new facilities. At the end of the day, this means jobs and new sources of private investment for Yonkers – an opportunity we can ill-afford to delay or lose.
However, it has come to my attention that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) currently manages properties that serve as bus maintenance and administration facilities along the parcels of land that the City would like to redevelop. The MTA’s current bus facility serves approximately 80 buses at 8 mobile service stations that can be relocated without disrupting MTA’s ability to serve commuters in the region and that the MTA has indicated a general willingness to relocate the bus facilities and administration building. The bus depot and related administrative operations are vital – and I work very hard in Washington to support the MTA’s capital efforts, from new tunnels and track to new busses – but prime Hudson River real estate is not the best place for this facility, particularly now that a coherent and viable vision to remake this area is in the works.
It is imperative that the effort to find a new, efficient and affordable location proceed as quickly as possible to ensure that this project can continue and succeed. The City of Yonkers has identified alternative sites for the MTA’s bus facility and I urge the MTA to expedite consideration of these options so that the re-development process can continue. With potential relocation sites identified in Yonkers, and throughout the nearby metropolitan area, I urge the MTA to find a way forward which is fair for all parties involved. I understand the unique fiscal pressures all governments and agencies are under in this economic climate and would ask the MTA to work in good faith to allow the waterfront development to begin the flow of economic development dollars across the City.
As we move from the industrial past, the City of Yonkers and local stakeholders have long planned to re-connect the City to its waterfront, and to tap in significant potential as a place to work, live and recreate. Local economic development officials, residents of Yonkers and small businesses owners alike all realize the economic potential of the Yonkers waterfront and agree the time is now to leverage this unique opportunity. Unfortunately, although the bus depot serves a great importance, its location in the heart of the Yonkers planned redevelopment presents a roadblock going forward. This facility, which lies squarely in the middle of the planned residential, business and recreational space, is holding up progress and stalling hundreds of millions of dollars in development.
The Alexander Street Waterfront is a beneficial project to the City of Yonkers and greater New York. This project, which could total nearly one billion dollars in investment, will create a new revenue stream for the City, increase the quality of life for residents throughout the Hudson Valley and create new economic development opportunities throughout Yonkers. Again, I urge the MTA to work with the City of Yonkers to select an alternative site for the bus facility and administration building as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure that this project can progress as smoothly as possible.