WPCNR NEWS & COMMENT. MID-YEAR REVIEW III. By John F. Bailey Updated 7/31 with WP Pavilion new design revelation:
Time is running out on The Millennial March the City of White Plains expects will lead to an end to the revenue blues the city has been experiencing since 2008.
In 2008 the city earned $45.5 Million in sales tax revenues. Ten years later at the close of business June 30, 2018, that important barometer has grown to $50.1 Million a gain of $500,000 over 2008 after 10 years of inflation of about 2% a year. That shows a very stagnant downtown business climate.
If the city just kept pace with inflation in their business transactions, they should have gained $9.1 Million in sales tax receipts by this year for a total of $59 Million in sales taxes, even without compounding.
In fact the city hit an all time high in sales taxes in 2013-14 of $51.9 Million, then slumped the last four years finally posting a gain to $50.1 Million ended June 30.
Let me clarify: If the city economy had kept pace the city should have taken in $59 Million this year based on inflation alone over a decade. But, it has not.
Now it is imperative that the four stalled apartment projects being counted on to bring in the millennial big spenders into White Plains have to start going up and pronto.
The second tower of 55 Bank Street is presumably soon to be started, but not the White Plains Mall rebuild. The apartments behind the Mamaroneck Avenue restaurants between East Post Road and Miller Place are supposedly starting, but I saw no evidence of it last week. What’s the delay?
The 52 North Broadway Good Counsel apartment complex may be finally approved shortly. That’s a good four years away and that’s being optimistic.
The White Plains Pavilion rebuild is stalled out for site plan revision. We do not have proposals yet for the city-owned properties adjacent the east side of the railroad. That whole thing is a good 6 years away at the present snail’s pace.
(Commentator’s Update Note: on Monday evening, July 30, Lennar, the developer of the White Plains Pavillion site told the Common Council whey could not get financing for the project at its present level of retail. They presented a slim design of two buildings with 814 apartments, to be built in two phases, first one building then the other. Their plan is to pitch the new design of the project two restaurant on recreational retailers, gauge the interest, then get financing from sources. The expected start if all goes well and the city approves is Spring, 2019, with first one building being built then the next.)
The Requests for potential developers for the train station area owned by the city were sent out a year ago and they supposedly had some interest. We do not know who the firms are, and what proposals they may have sent the city.
These four projects have to start now, folks to give us those millennial hives by 2023! The slow pace is killing the city vision. What is behind this slow pace?
The city has to be wary of the sudden insurgence of New Rochelle that has 22 projects supposedly starting now.
The site plans for the city “visions” must be approved like now while the financing is available, if indeed it is.
As the developer Louis Cappelli once told me, “Now is the time to build, Mr. Bailey.”
Had the City Center and Ritz Carlton complex not been built in two years each, back to back, by Mr. Cappelli there would have been no Renaissance 14 years ago in White Plains.
Can the developers the city has tapped and customized zoning on request get their site plans together for swift approvals needed by the end of 2018?
It is a Common council responsibility to pay attention here and get the story of whether once again we have given approvals to developers unable to deliver in a timely manner.
The city future depends on the creation of these buildings the city assumed would be there to fulfill the Roach Administration dream of a Millennial Metropolis to bring the big spenders to town.
But they will not becoming to White Plains if New Rochelle’s “Age of Enlightenment” beckons first with buildings that are move-in ready in 4 years.
Time waits for no one and it won’t wait for White Plains or its developers of choice who are under pressure to deliver. Or should be put under pressure by the Common Council.
By the way the departure of Walmart is not going to help the city sales tax revenues the first of the year either. That is a blow. It has to be the busiest department store in White Plains, don’t you think?