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NEW ROCHELLE, NY-Terming it a “giant step forward” in the city’s goal to redevelop its waterfront, city officials revealed on Friday that the New Rochelle City Council unanimously endorsed Forest City Residential Group as the designated developer for the Echo Bay project.

City officials and representatives of Forest City were on hand at a press conference at City Hall to announce the designation, which now must be finalized by the end of February 2007.

Forest City bested two finalists, WCI Communities of Bonita Springs, FL and Twining Properties of New York City for the designation. Forest City Residential Group is a division of Forest City Enterprises Inc. of Cleveland.

“New Rochelle’s nine-mile shoreline is one of our greatest physical assets,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “Because of the way it has been mis-developed over the past 100 years or more you could be within a stone’s throw of the water’s edge and have no sense of proximity to the (Long Island) Sound.” He added that the Echo Bay shoreline is a prime example of how industrial development closed off access and visibility of Long Island Sound.

The city, in partnership with Forest City, will seek to change that by developing a mixed-use project of residential, commercial and retail use and a public park promenade.

Mayor Bramson, while stressing that the details of the project have yet to be finalized, estimated the development will probably involve hundreds of residential units and be valued at approximately $500 million.

David Levey, executive vice president of Forest City Residential, said, “This is the culmination of a three-year effort, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. We understand the city’s vision to reclaim Echo Bay for the benefit of residents and are honored to be selected as the master developer in this joint venture.”

Levey said that while Forest City’s concept of what the city is looking to achieve with the Echo Bay project won it the designation, he views the project as “an empty canvass” that will be filled in via input from the city and the residents of the City of New Rochelle.

The Echo Bay project area could extend some 26 acres from Echo Avenue to LeFevre Lane, along Main Street. A total of 10 acres is currently owned by the City of New Rochelle.

City officials said the goal is to break ground on the project by the end of the decade.

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