Downtown Cultural Retail Entertainment District

A pedestrian and bike friendly shopping district featuring stores and restaurants unique to New Rochelle as well as some well-know chain retailers.

New Rochelle’s Downtown and East End neighborhoods are uniquely positioned to become the “jewels” in the crown of the Queen City of the Sound. The need for dynamic, visionary change is apparent as is residents’ desire to create a contiguous walkable, livable experience in this area. Attracting new, unique and culturally diverse businesses to the downtown is a key step in the transformation process.

Currently, to those who live outside the downtown – this area is primarily seen as a “one-off” – a place to dine, check out some books, repair jewelry or to purchase a school uniform, teaching supplies or curtains.  However, the experience for those who live within the downtown core is much different. Main Street is a place strolled on the weekends, ice cream is purchased from pushcart vendors, children play in some of the open spaces and shopping for grocery and clothes is done.

Re-inventing the downtown through thoughtful development and infrastructure improvements will attract start-up business and chain retailers. These businesses in turn will draw more people to the downtown area – including students from the three local colleges and those that live in the city’s luxury high-rises.  These same people may begin to stay a bit longer themselves and explore existing retailers giving a much-needed boost to long-time shop owners in the downtown.  This continuous ripple effect will ultimately help transform the neighborhood into an energetic hub for arts, culture, dining and shopping.

Existing business owners and urban entrepreneurs are critical to the success of any downtown shopping district redevelopment.  Hence, a revitalized downtown must include minority-owned businesses as well as those that offer reasonably priced goods and services to the main residents of the area.

"It’s time for Downtown New Rochelle to experience the “Starbucks Effect.” As explained by real estate research group Zillow: Starbucks is usually a harbinger of good times for a locality. A new Starbucks gives a sense to developers that the neighborhood is on the rise. Even better would be a signature local coffeehouse such as Pop’s on Main Street or this NRFuture idea:, that becomes a city-wide draw.

Lastly, such transformation has the potential to mobilize previously disengaged residents and business owners to contribute to the city’s success and call for more infrastructure improvements, including new paving for streets, curbs and sidewalks, landscaping and streetscapes and new and improved green spaces. All of which will create new jobs.

Posted in: All Placemaking Ideas, Public Places