Concept: ODA Architecture’s Plan for Final Phase of Westchester’s Ridge Hill
Forest City’s plans for a major development in Yonkers were fraught with politically-charged accusations, but amidst all the controversy, one parcel of the overall site went unbuilt, awaiting financial backing. Though funding for the next phase has not yet been secured, YIMBY has renderings of what it could look like, thanks to the project’s architect, ODA.
Plans are far from concrete, and per the architect, were intended to give a sense of potential; they may be used once the 600,000 square-foot expansion is developed, or they could be tossed for a more generic design. Mini-cantilevers dominate in typical ODA fashion, and the scheme would also weave public access throughout the expansion.
Hopefully ODA’s vision for Ridge Hill does not die a sad conceptual death, as the renderings are especially promising for a corner of the region bereft of contemporary architecture. The program would be split between residential, hotel, and retail components, and while the site is certainly not situated in a walkable or pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, the plan would create attractive new public areas.
While the auto-centric nature of most Westchester development is disappointing, there is almost no new construction in the county anyways; YIMBY’s analysis showed that the annual number of new units per capita in the county is a lowly one per 1,000 residents. In housing-starved New York City, that number is 2.5; the demand for city versus suburban living has certainly skewed in favor of the former, but planning for smart growth in transit-accessible suburbs is also important if the greater New York City region is to live up to its potential.
Metro North makes this kind of development a legitimate possibility in Westchester County, but unfortunately Ridge Hill lacks proximity to commuter rails — and like most malls, access is granted via a labyrinth of highways. Still, ODA’s design would improve a small corner of the complex, and even if public transit remains missing, rehabbing Ridge Hill with legitimately attractive architecture would be a major plus.
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