Westchester County is preparing to turn an empty lot on Garden Street in New Rochelle into a new building housing a family court branch. It will end a long dispute over where to relocate the outdated court facilities closer to downtown, CBS New York reports.
“We all know there were other options that might have been easier in the short-term and yet they would not have served us as well,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson told the broadcaster.
The county had earlier indicated an interest in renovating a closed grocery store into a new courthouse. Instead, Westchester approved a pricier deal for the new building with developer Joe Simone, who County Executive George Latimer introduced as “a lifelong friend,” according to the report.
“It’s more expensive process to build new construction, whether it’s with your friend or with anybody else,” Latimer said.
Latimer said the Garden Street deal was closely and appropriately scrutinized. He said with unanimous support from the New Rochelle City Council, he backs it.
The deal approved by the county board of legislators on July 15 is for two floors and 35,000 sq. ft., or three times more than the current location, in a building proposed for 26 Garden St.,” Daily Voice Plus reports.
The site encompasses five parcels in a triangular section between Garden Street, Cottage Place and the New England Thruway.
Several parcels were bought by Mark 95 LLC, managed by Bronx-based developer Mark Stagg, who grew up in White Plains and lives in Harrison, Daily Voice says. The project is also being developed by Simone of Simone Development Cos. of the Bronx.
Stagg is known primarily for residential projects and Simone for commercial work.
The developers have proposed a residential and office project, a New Rochelle permit application says. The project includes a 24-story, 391-unit apartment building and parking for 489 cars, as well as the offices.
Westchester County is the only county with three family courts, in White Plains, Yonkers and New Rochelle. Meanwhile, Nassau County, Suffolk County, the Bronx and Queens have many more people, but each has only one Family Court.