AvalonBay Communities, Inc., one of the nation’s leading multifamily developers, marked the beginning of the construction of its 143 unit, transit-oriented apartment community in Harrison, on June 5. The event was commemorated with a traditional “shovel in the ground” ceremony. The Company hosted an array of public officials from the Town/Village of Harrison and executives of the MTA and Metro-North Railroad at a brief welcoming reception.
Matthew Whalen, AvalonBay Senior Vice President for Development, spoke at the reception, saying, “It took a great deal of persistence and patience to arrive at this day. I want to thank Mayor Belmont and the executives at Metro-North for their support and encouragement throughout the process. We understand the importance of genuine partnership not only during the pre-construction and construction phases but going forward as well. AvalonBay intends to be a good corporate citizen here in Harrison, as we have been everywhere else in the New York metro area.”
Avalon Harrison will consist of three residential buildings with a total of 143 well-appointed luxury apartment homes (76 one-bedroom, 59 two-bedroom, and 8 three-bedroom units). There will be approximately 5,000 square feet of first-class interior amenities, including a fitness center, resident lounge and community room. In cooperation with Westchester County, seven apartment homes will be made affordable for qualified residents.
The environmentally friendly project will take steps to conserve energy and water during construction, as well as utilize sustainable design and construction materials. This, combined with the community’s proximity to mass transit and the availability of bicycle parking and electric vehicle charging stations, make Avalon Harrison a responsible sustainable development.
In keeping with its transit-oriented focus, there will be two landscaped public plazas with direct connections to the Metro-North train station. Two new parking facilities will add 758 parking spaces to the current number, 475 of which will be set aside for commuters and 187 for Avalon Harrison residents. The remaining 96 spaces will be dedicated to customers of the 27,300 square feet of new street level retail space that will be part of this development. With these new parking garages, Metro-North will increase its parking capacity on the south side of the station by approximately 85%.
Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad, said, “We are delighted to be proceeding with what promises to be a transformative project for Metro-North commuters and Harrison. When it’s completed, this green project will create a vibrant, walkable community, both reducing reliance on cars and enhancing the existing village hub, and our customers will certainly have a much easier time finding parking at the station. We hope this type of suburban transit-oriented development becomes a model for communities throughout the MTA region.”
Like many AvalonBay developments, Avalon Harrison will have a positive impact on the downtown by adding much-needed retail space and by closing the gap in Harrison’s ‘Main Street’ along Halstead Avenue. The development also provides for streetscape enhancements, such as new streetlights, trees, planters and cross walks, and the rehabilitation of surrounding sanitary sewer and drainage infrastructure. Avalon Harrison is expected to create 410 FTE construction jobs and additional permanent employment opportunities in property management and retail.
Supervisor/Mayor Belmont of Harrison said, “This development is a genuine opportunity to kick start the revitalization of our downtown. We can expect almost 300 new residents, new restaurants and shops, streetscape enhancements, and two new pedestrian plazas. This entire project is consistent with our Comprehensive Plan which Harrison adopted in 2013. We are finally on the road to revitalizing an important downtown neighborhood which will provide benefits for all Harrison residents.”