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Iona Announces Plans for Campus, North Avenue Revitalization

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Iona Announces Plans for Campus, North Avenue Revitalization

May 12, 2017 - 03:33

Iona College

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Iona College has restated project plans with a clear focus on improving existing buildings on its main campus and along the North Avenue corridor.

Prior to today’s re-announcement and beginning in 2014, the College met often with City of New Rochelle officials and neighbors, provided public testimony at city council meetings and public presentations to the zoning board, and held several community meetings regarding the College’s construction plans. Iona College President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., said that the College’s planning “is focused on the main campus and North Avenue.

Anne Marie Schettini-Lynch, senior vice president for Finance and Administration, serves as the College’s chief financial officer and oversees facilities and construction at the New Rochelle campus. She indicated “feasibility review and feedback from the community have helped clarify the College’s focus, with several of the projects subject to design approval and fundraising.”  

The College announced three projects on its main campus that, with appropriate fundraising, could occur in the next five years.

Business School: Designs are complete and permitting applications have been submitted to modernize the current business school building located at the center of Iona’s main campus.

Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation: An addition of approximately 3,800 square feet of academic space to the front of Spellman Hall, located at the center of its main campus.

Athletics Center: Enhancements to the Hynes Athletics Center. As actual construction is subject to fundraising, no timeline is available.

Moreover, the College intends to continue its revitalization initiative of the North Avenue Corridor. The College owns several retail spaces on North Avenue and intends to utilize these for both academic and retail space open to the community. Academic space on North Avenue includes a business entrepreneurship incubator and a clinical training center.  Retail space includes the expansion of Gemelli’s restaurant, currently  located at 752 North Avenue, into 754 North Avenue, and SAGE Cafe|Market|More, which will be will be open to the general public and provide a casual contemporary dining experience at 690 North Avenue.

Joseph Napolitano, owner of Gemelli’s, said, "Four of my restaurants benefit from the Iona College meal plan and I am pleased to be expanding Gemelli's on North Avenue in a College-owned property." Iona currently supports over 20 New Rochelle restaurants through the College meal plan.

Iona is proud to call New Rochelle home. In addition to the contributions it makes through its support for retail operations, Iona supports the community in many ways.  While Iona is a faith-based educational not-for-profit exempt from certain taxes, the College pays real estate taxes on its commercial properties and sewer and water taxes on all of its property, totaling more than $460,000 in 2016.

Iona College Works with Local Neighborhoods

Iona College has been open about its existing plans. While the College owns more than two city blocks of property in residential neighborhoods adjacent to its campus, the College has consistently sought to focus College improvements on its main campus and on North Avenue. The College understands that seeking input from its neighbors has and continues to be an important part of any development process.

“The College works with its neighbors to develop its plans in a manner that is supportive to the joint interests of the area neighborhoods and the College,” President Nyre said. “This is not always easy or possible – but the process has been successful to date.” He credited the College’s North Avenue Revitalization Initiative, the construction of a new residence hall (East Hall) on the main campus and a second residence hall on North Avenue (North Hall) as resulting from working and planning with the neighborhoods. Currently, College officials have been voluntarily meeting with a delegation of Beechmont neighborhood homeowners, appointed by the Beechmont Association, to discuss improvements and future potential uses of several properties that have been in continuous use by the College for decades.  President Nyre added, “The decision to expand the current business school on the main campus rather than build into the surrounding neighborhoods is a more-recent example that received initial accolades from neighbors and City officials. We are working hard to be good neighbors to our good neighbors.”