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BEACON, NY-The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Metro-North division is soliciting developers for a transit-oriented development initiative at its Upper Hudson Line train station here. The agency has sent out Requests for Expression of Interest titled “Be in Beacon” and has set a deadline of Feb. 7 for responses to the RFEI.

The project site encompasses the Beacon Metro-North train station and surrounding 18 acres. “Transit-oriented development is a win-win for the MTA and New York, promoting increased transit use and helping to make the region more sustainable,” says Elliot Sander, CEO and executive director of the MTA. “We hope this is the first of many opportunities to promote transit-accessible development throughout the MTA’s transportation network.”

The agency states that the vision of the transit-oriented development project is to create a destination that serves as a “gateway” to the City of Beacon. The goal of the RFEI is to secure a developer that will transform the site into a “self-sustaining mixed-use project.”

Metro-North in its announcement, states that the RFEI “aims to achieve the highest level of quality in terms of urban and architectural design, and to provide the best and most attractive mix of development for housing and commercial uses in an environmentally friendly and responsible manner.”

Metro North Railroad president Peter Cannito says, “clustering development around train stations is nothing new. Just look at the thriving hamlets all over the region we serve. We hope to go back to the future in Beacon. Metro North wants to be an integral part of that city’s very bright future.”

Incorporated into the RFEI are public components to the development project, including a parking garage with landscaped rooftop garden elements, an inter-modal plaza and an expanded and improved train station. The RFEI is part of the Station Master Plan for Beacon, which has been worked on by Metro North, in collaboration with the State of New York, Dutchess County, the City of Beacon and other stakeholders, Metro North officials note.

According to MTA figures, ridership at the Beacon station has grown to 2,100 customers a day, an increase of 34% in peak ridership and a 64% hike in off-peak riders. The agency adds that it expects Beacon ridership to rise another 60% by 2020.

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