Chamber of Commerce Resource Guide
It starts with location, and New Rochelle is certainly blessed with that. On the shores of beautiful Long Island Sound, the city is easily reached by Interstate 95, the Hutchinson River Parkway, or a 35-minute express train ride from Grand Central Station. The New Rochelle Transit Center makes the trip from New Rochelle to New York City effortless. It houses a station for the Metro-North commuter railroad line and Amtrak, the regional line with connections to Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. The terminal accommodates as many as 300 buses a day and provides airport limousine service and convenient parking for over 900 cars. New Rochelle is also minutes from the Westchester County Airport and close to the three major New York Metropolitan area airports.
New Rochelle – the proud possessor of 9.3 miles of waterfront with parks, off-shore islands, coves, inlets and breathtaking views – has been nicknamed “Queen City of the Sound.” The legendary Glen Island Casion, famous for its big-band performances (Glen Miller, the Dorsey Brothers, Ozzie Nelson, etc.), has been magnificently refurbished as the Harbour Club at Glen Island. It continues to be popular for dining, weddings and other events. Glen Island Park, a Westchester County facility, draws visitors all year long. New Rochelle’s city parks offer swimming, picnicking, fishing and entertainment.
New Rochelle’s proximity to New York City has positioned it as prime area of homes for executives and others who work in New York and those who want easy access to the myriad of New York cultural activities. A few minutes’ ride from New Rochelle are White Plains, the Westchester County seat, and many corporate headquarters of Fortune 500 corporations. Westchester also offers a wealth of business opportunities and a richness of cultural activities. And for those who relay on public transportation, the Bee Line Buses of Westchester adequately serve the needs of New Rochelle residents.
But beyond having an exemplary location, New Rochelle has great people and a true sense of community that make it a special city in which to live and work.
One of the most appealing characteristics of New Rochelle, a city of over 77,000 people, is its diversity. It provides a welcoming home for people of all races, nationalities and political persuasions and encompasses a wide socioeconomic range. It is a city comprised of many neighborhoods that have their own individual characteristics and neighborhood associations.
The New York Post (September 13, 2003) said, “New Rochelle has its share of tree-lined streets, rolling lawns and spacious homes. But the southern Westchester community also has something many suburbs lack: a trace of urban energy.”
In the last several years, that urban energy has been exploding, resulting in a residential and commerical renaissance. Yet, even though New Rochelle is a dynamic city, it has retained its small-town characteristics. Neighborhood schools have their own playgrounds and promote family activities and sports programs. Many neighborhood associations have get-togethers to socialize, and the New Rochelle Public Library sponsors ethnic programs and fesitvals celebrating the cultures of its residents. Main Street still retains the character and charm of an early 20th century city.
The city is known for its elegant, stately older homes, some dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Exquisite architecture and lovely landscaping characterize many of New Rochelle’s neighborhoods. Rochelle Park and Rochelle Heights, in the central part of the city, comprise the largest designated Historic District in Westchester.
In the summer there are many outdoor events, including the popular Farmer’s Market and concerts in the city’s parks. Families head for the beaches; fisherman grab their gear and go to favorite fishing spots. Local muscians entertain picknickers at the July 4th Independence Day festivities as they wait for dark to descend so the fireworks can begin.
New Rochelle is well served by numerous communications media. It has its own “local and vocal” radio station, WVOX; The Journal News, a daily newspaper; The Sound Report, a weekly newspaper; The New Rochelle Review, a monthly newspaper; Cablevision, which allocates three channels for government, educational and community access; and News Channel 12, a county-oriented TV station. WVOX uses residents and city officials, such as the Mayor and City Manager, as hosts for its call-in talk shows. Local citizens call regularly to voice their opinions on matters of local interest and just about everything else.
Perhaps one of its greatest assets is that New Rochelle is blessed with a large number of citizens who generously give their time and energy as community volunteers. There are innumerable activities, largely supported by volunteer efforts, happening throughout the year. The citizens are proud of the city’s diversity and human resources. Residents believe it is a perfect environment to raise a family.
In the past several years, New Rochelle has seen unprecedented economic growth. The seeds that were sewn by city leaders in the last decade are coming to fruition. The results are extraordinary. The city’s Department of Development , working in concert with the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) and the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency, has attracted development that has changed the face of the downtown. The large influx of residents in new luxury housing has led to increased business for retailers, restaurants, the entertainment and hospitality industries, and professional-services providers.
The Journal News, in an Economic Developement Supplement (April 4, 2006), said, “New Rochelle, in a dramatic reversal of decoades of deterioration, has attracted more than $1.2 billion in development since 1992. It is drawing people into the city through both its upgraded transportation center, which serves both Metro North and Amtrak railroads, and New Roc City, a retail and entertainment complex. Now, like White Plains, it is making its downtown a 24-hour destination through the development of seven new residential complexes….”
This economic growth has brought developers and investors to New Rochelle looking for opportunities. The Journal News (January 31, 2005) said, “After decades spent begging developers to look at its empty downtown lots, the city suddenly finds itself being courted by builders.” A key parcel in the heart of the downtown district is currently under construction as a $150 million 32-story luxery apartment and retail complex by developers Louis R. Cappelli and Donald Trump. Cappelli stated, “New Rochelle is the next great developable city. It’s close to Manhatan. It’s underdeveloped. And it has tremendous, tremendous, tremendous untapped potential” (Westchester County Business Journal, May 9, 2005).
In his 2006 state-of-the-city address, Mayor Noam Bramson predicted 276,000 square feet of hotel and office space, 418.000 square feet of new retail space, and 1,700 luxery apartments in the next few years. He anticipates a total of 2.9 million square feet of new construction worth more than a billion dollars overall.
The mayor said, “We anticipate more than $1 billion of private investment in the next few years, including projects that will substantially change the physical composition, economic vitality and population of our central business district. Our goal is to build a more livalbe city with physical infrastructure and quality services and amenities that compliment our growth….” (The Journal News Economic Development Supplement, March 24, 2006).
Greatly enhancing the downtown excitement is the New Roc City Entertainment Center, with Regal Cinema’s 18 screens plus IMAX and a variety of choices for family recreation, including minature golf, bowling, interactive video games, laser tag and the famous SpaceShot. There are three restaurants and an ice cream cafe. People flock from miles around to enjoy New Roc.
Year-round activities and events, many of them sponsored or co-sponsored by the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce, have also contributed to the success. The influx of people downtown brings new patrons to restaurants and cafes. Some restaurants and clubs offer live entertainment.
New Rochelle also boasts two high-quality hotels: the Marriott Residence Inn at New Roc, offering single rooms or suites with full kitchens for short-and long-term stays, and the Radisson Hotel, offering banquet facilities that can accommodate large business and social events. The Radisson also has an outdoor pool (in season), a fitness center and two restaurants.
Although much of the new development is downtown, other sectons of the city are likewise flourishing. Along Palmer Avenue in the city’s east end, Palmer Square, a 78,000-square-foot shopping center, is under construction with Marhsalls and HomeGoods as the anchor tenants. It is the neighbor of a very successful Super Stop-and-Shop center.
Furthermore, New Rochelle eagerly anticipates one of the most exciting projects the city has ever experienced – the Echo Bay Waterfront Development. Over 20 acres of land on Long Island Sound’s picturesque Echo Bay will be redeveloped as a vibrant mixed-use attraction. The project will include retail and small office space, townhouses, restaurants, and a bay walk. It is expected to cost between $250 million to $300 million when completed by the end of the decade. Withing walking distance of downtown high-rise residential and retail buildings, and clearly visible from Main Street, it will bcome a destination that is unmatched anywhere else in the region.