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YONKERS, NY-After 15 months of construction, state and city government leaders dedicated one of the linchpins to the revitalization of downtown Yonkers, the $53-million Larkin Center complex, which will serve as the new main branch of the Yonkers Public Library and the headquarters of the city’s Board of Education.

Approximately 1,000 people jammed the corner of River Avenue and Dock Street on Thursday to hear Governor George Pataki, Yonkers Mayor John Spencer and other city government leaders at the event.

Construction on the former Otis Elevator Building began last year and was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, according to city officials. The Larkin Center project, which totals 180,000 sf, is the single largest investment in the downtown waterfront district in the history of the City of Yonkers, city officials add. Otis Elevator vacated the property in the early 1980s.

Governor Pataki, who characterized the project as a “magnificent transformation of an old industrial building,” said that the completion of the Larkin Center was “an important milestone in the resurgence in one of our state’s largest cities.”

Yonkers Mayor John D. Spencer said, “This magnificent use of an old and familiar structure is already changing the downtown landscape, and very much for the better. It will serve as a catalyst for future development here.”

Yonkers Deputy Mayor Phil Amicone noted that across the street from the Larkin Center property, the Yonkers train station is undergoing a $35 million rehabilitation program by Metro-North. He rattled off a host of multi-million dollar projects that are in progress or are close to breaking ground in the downtown area. He noted that later this month a groundbreaking ceremony is planned for the first speculative office building in some time in Westchester County — “Station Plaza,” a 70,000-sf property that will be built nearby the Larkin Plaza property. Nearby, work on a 600-car parking garage is nearly finished.

Other major ventures underway or in the works in the downtown/waterfront district include: a $57 million rental housing development being built by Collins Enterprises of Stamford, CT., which is scheduled to be completed by August 2003 and the redevelopment of the historic Trolley Barn property into retail and living lofts space which is expected to get started soon. In addition, the city has recently completed construction on the Yonkers City Esplanade, a multi-million dollar waterfront public park.

The city had been attempting to build a new main branch for the Yonkers Public Library for more than two decades. City officials noted that the main library has been in “temporary” quarters for 21 years in the Getty Square section of the city.

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