Westfair Business Journals: $450M 1,400-unit development at Harriman train station resurfaces

A massive development project in the Village of Woodbury that also would encompass a section of Harriman has been put back into the spotlight after a hiatus. The project, known as The Gardens at Harriman, has been valued at approximately $450 million and would involve the creation of apprximately 1,400 housing units along with approximately 300,000 square feet of retail space, office space, indoor recreation, restaurants, bars and personal service establishments.

Attorney Anthony Morando of the White Plains-based law firm Cuddy & Feder told the Woodbury Planning Board, “We don’t want to surprise you with anything. We’d rather be speaking to you, the deciders, as a group when its appropriate and we have the right information to give you.”

A Manhattan real estate firm, Besen Partners, purchased the property for the development in the vicinity of the train station about four years ago.The project site consists of approximately 130 acres with 112.3 acres located within the Village of Woodbury, 12.6 acres located within the Village of Harriman and 5.1 acres located within the unincorporated Town of Monroe. The proposed transit-oriented development would be located within the Villages of Woodbury and Harriman adjacent to the Harriman train station. No development is being proposed on the portion of the project site located in Monroe.

In a news release at the time of the purchase, Besen said that it “is pleased to announce that its Capital Markets group has arranged both the equity and debt necessary for the acquisition and development of a 130-acre land parcel specially zoned and with concept plan approval to develop a mixed-use, transit oriented development (TOD), located just one mile south of the world renowned Woodbury Commons. The half billion dollar, mixed-use project will create a scalable, walkable community with modern apartment living and destination retail surrounding the train station core. Townhouses and other ‘for sale’ asset types will also be available immediately outside the Harriman transit hub (Metro North).”

The project has roots going back to the 1980s. A proposal known as the Interstate Commerce Center was introduced and environmental studies were completed. In 1988 this site received subdivision approval for 1. 4 million square feet of mixed industrial and commercial uses along with 52,000 square feet of retail. The project never went ahead.

Developer Neil Gold, in 2017, had presented a plan similar to the development proposal that currently is under active review.

The site is located on the easterly side of New York State Route 17. The portion of the site within the Village of Woodbury encompasses twenty-three individual tax parcels north of the train station and two tax parcels south of  the station. The portion of the site within the Village of Harriman encompasses six tax parcels.

Morando told the planning board that the developer wanted to get the board’s permission to work with the village’s staff and consultants so that numerous technical and zoning details could be worked out about the project before making additional submissions.

The planning board members, many of whom are new to the board and did not review previous submissions on possible train station area development, agreed that quarterly or more frequent updates on the current development would be in order. It was agreed that the developer would next give an update to the planning board at its June meeting.

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