White Plains residents want more say in what happens to Galleria parking lot

The Coalition for Addition Without Subtraction says they want open space and affordable housing in the location.

News 12 Staff

Jun 13, 2023, 9:53 AM

Updated 304 days ago

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White Plains officials are opening conversations about what to do with the now-vacant Galleria Mall, but one local community group expressed its concerns at a meeting Monday evening.
The mall, most of it privately-owned outside of the garage, presently sits empty. The city has been contemplating what to do with the garage, which is part of the City's Comprehensive Plan. It was formed to share ideas about everything from parking to green initiatives.
“By the turnout you see tonight, you can tell it's been successful,” said White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach.
The Galleria is going to be the centerpiece of whatever development happens in downtown, but there's some concern over the garage. People with community group, Coalition for Addition Without Subtraction (CAWS), tell News 12 they don't like that the city's seeking permission from the state legislature to sell the city-owned garage next to the Galleria without the normal public auction and bids process, and without finishing public comment on the comprehensive plan.
They say, putting it out to bid would allow more public involvement in what happens with the garage, which makes up about a quarter of the prime 10-acre site.
The CAWS people say they want open space and affordable housing. They're worried the city's already trying to lock down developers without even hearing from the people.
"The city has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform downtown White Plains," added CAWS member Gary O'Brien.
O'Brien says the city has asked Albany lawmakers for permission to sell it. "Giving it to a developer without a public process seems to us we'll never know whether we got the best price for that property," he said.
O’Brien also says they've gotten resistance in trying to be involved in creating the redevelopment proposal. "It looks to me, and to CAWS generally, that there's a plan that's been hatched and put into place, and the public is not having its due say."
Mayor Tom Roach says no one has made a proposal to develop the garage and that, regardless of how it's sold, the public is still getting their full say.
"The garage has not been sold. We don't have to sell it, but we can sell it now. That's all that happened," he said.
The mayor and CAWS have similar visions for the Galleria, garage and surrounding area – they both want open space and affordable housing.
Numerous people who spoke with News 12 offered similar opinions.
"Something that caters to the public, and yes, affordable housing is definitely the way to go," said Rendy Odhiameo, a college student.
As for a time frame, Mayor Roach couldn't get too specific. He does say he expects there's going to be a plan for the City Council to vote in the coming months.


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