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First Look: Library Square, 20 South Second Avenue, Mount Vernon

Library Square, rendering from BLALibrary Square, rendering from BLA

North of the Bronx, the city of Mount Vernon is in many ways more similar to New York City than to anything else in Westchester County, with its dense housing stock and diverse population of African-Americans, West Indians, West Africans, and Brazilians. And now it might soon be getting some New York-style density, in a new mixed-use development that would include a pair of 17- and 19-story apartment towers.

Dubbed Library Square, the development, totaling nearly half a million square feet of space, would rise at 20 South Second Avenue, a short walk from the Mount Vernon East Metro-North station. The final façade design has not yet been worked out – the images that YIMBY has are representative of the massing but the exact design is certain to improve – but Harlem-based Body Lawson Associates have shared preliminary designs for the site.

In addition to around 250 new apartments, the project would include a substantial public component, centered around a modern new central branch for the Mount Vernon Public Library, totaling around 50,000 square feet. The new building would focus on science and technology, with the existing library across the street repurposed for general use.

The project would also involve the renovation of an existing YMCA, recently acquired by the city, with a swimming pool (moved from the cellar to the roof), and a gym and basketball court, among other things (including 18 micro-units for short stays). Library Square would also include a 15,500-square foot landscaped public plaza, accessible from both South Second and Third avenues, plus an on-site cogeneration plant. Parking would be tucked underground with 150 to 300 spaces, 50 of which would be public and another 100 to 200 for residents.

The full development team has not yet been chosen, though Comrie Enterprises would act as a co-developer.

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