Multi-Phase Revitalization Effort Aims to Transform Downtown Yonkers

Site map of proposed Yonkers RedevelopmentSite map of proposed Yonkers Redevelopment

The City of Yonkers is set to launch one of its largest investment initiatives to transform the downtown center into a vibrant mixed-use hub of commerce and residency. New developments will be primarily located at the confluence of the Hudson and Saw Mill Rivers.

Referred to as The Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the funds would largely focus on four major development projects: the Floating Dock, phase four of the Saw Mill River Daylighting, Chicken Island, and the Yonkers Greenway.

A municipal floating dock along the southern end of the historic City Recreation Pier now serves as a destination for environmental education ships and Hudson River cruise ships, among other public and private uses. The city envisions constructing a second floating dock along the pier’s north side to foster the growth of water-borne tourism. This includes possible ferry service to and from New York City.

The Saw Mill River Daylighting project was conceived as a means to expose the Saw Mill River to natural light. Between the 1890s and the 1920s the Saw Mill River was buried under concrete to support the expansion of the city. Phases one through three saw the completion of a 2-acre urban plaza, a 20,000-square-foot Italian-style piazza, and a new 1.25-acre gateway park for those entering the downtown area from regional parkways to the east. Phase four would include extending the riverfront area through the existing Chicken Island parking lot.

According to the city, the first phases of the Daylighting of the Saw Mill River generated over $1 billion in private and public investment, created vast new employment opportunities, grew the local property tax base, and provided outdoor green spaces that were previously nonexistent within the area.

Chicken Island is a city-owned, six-acre vacant lot located east of City Hall along the Nepperhan Avenue corridor. The property was recently purchased by AMS Acquisitions, which intends to construct an expansive multi-tower complex spanning approximately 2 million square feet. The $800 million project will introduce a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, office space, retail and dining area, a parking structure, and a new pedestrian plaza that feeds into the riverfront extension.

Proposed rendering of Chicken Island Redevelopment

Proposed rendering of Chicken Island Redevelopment

Proposed rendering of Chicken Island Redevelopment's pedestrian plazas that seamlessly link with the Saw Mill River Daylighting Phase 3 and 4 (in the foreground)

Proposed rendering of Chicken Island Redevelopment’s pedestrian plazas that seamlessly link with the Saw Mill River Daylighting Phase 3 and 4 (in the foreground)

Proposed rendering of Chicken Island Redevelopment's pedestrian plaza

Proposed rendering of Chicken Island Redevelopment’s pedestrian plaza

The Yonkers Greenway was founded in 2008 by the Committee of Seven, a coalition of local residents and non-profit organizations that sought to improve the quality of life for the Lawrence Street neighborhood. Ten years later, the Greenway achieved a large investment from the City of Yonkers and Groundwork Hudson Valley to construct a new playground and a community garden.

The next phase of development includes redeveloping the abandoned Old Putnam rail line into 2.4 miles of trails that will connect Yonkers to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The proposed trail will provide residents and commuters with an alternative, cost-free travel route.

Rendering of a trail within the Yonkers Greenway

Rendering of a trail within the Yonkers Greenway

To jump start the initiative, the City of Yonkers is working in collaboration with Local Planning Committee, a consortium of stakeholders that includes multiple city agencies, leaders from two business improvement districts and historic sites, community activists, the Yonkers Riverfront Library, the chambers of commerce, and an unnamed private developer.

At this phase of planning, it is unclear when construction might break ground on any of the four major initiatives outlined in city documents.

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9 Comments on "Multi-Phase Revitalization Effort Aims to Transform Downtown Yonkers"

  1. I am not too familiar with Yonkers, but these projects will most certainly improve the area.

  2. The transformation and restoration of downtown Yonkers over the past few years has been amazing. It has gone from depressing to interesting. I hope they continue with this positive transformation.

    • I feel so bad for all that commenters that can’t find a single nice thing to say about Yonkers. Yes, the schools absolutely need help—but this article wasn’t about schools, it was about public initiatives like the daylighting. The daylighting is absolutely gorgeous, the Greenway will be stunning once complete, and the renovations of the Boyce Thompson center and Untermyer Gardens are absolutely incredible. I’ve lived in this town my whole life and the changes I’ve seen over the past decade have made my heart swell.

  3. Robert chaisson | August 11, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Reply

    Yonkers is a great city it’s just run by a bunch of greedy people if had the right people could be called the city of gracious living like it was once called these people thier couldn’t run a Kool aid stand

  4. This is great, but let’s hope Yonkers doesn’t shoot itself in the foot by building waaaayyyy too much parking, and not enough mixed-use, groundfloor retail.

    The buildings constructed in the past decade along the waterfront have so much parking, nobody who lives there ventures into the neighborhood on foot or bike. They all just hop on the train to Manhattan, or drive to other points in Westchester. People bring cars with them b/c parking is so cheap it is almost crazy not to have a car.

  5. The problem with the city of Yonkers is that the politicians only focus only on water front. People from NYC are not coming. Do you see how bad the rest of Yonkers is. Do you see the schools. Nobody’s is coming. Stop wasting money where is not
    Neeed and paid more attention to neighborhood that pay taxes and help schools. When schools are good people families will come. Only then When you stop the influx of drugs, violence the homeless that is happening in the city then good tax paying citizens will came ONLy THEN. Nobody wants to live by waterfront no matter how nice it could be. The Getty part of Yonkers had a bad reputation for 100 years it will take more than pretty building to move to that part of Yonkers

  6. Bill Mansville | August 12, 2020 at 5:06 am | Reply

    They should just throw the money directly into the river. Without removing the crime ridden public housing that riddles the downtown area the whole project will be for nothing.

  7. Yeah revitalizing downtown yonkers is great great but why not do a one two punch on fixing the school system.

  8. John F Odonnell | August 12, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Reply

    What they have built so far has become a place for dog poop, not in 30 years have I seen such dirty streets down by the water. Are there no pooper scooper laws in effect anymore? I moved to the waterfront that no ng this area was getting better, but so far it hasn’t

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