Westchester County’s Centers of Economic Development: Port Chester
Dubbed the “restaurant capital of Westchester,” Port Chester’s downtown Restaurant Row offers critically acclaimed cuisine from celebrity chefs like Mario Batali and others.
From its location on the Long Island Sound, Port Chester once toiled quietly in the shadow of more affluent neighbors like Greenwich, Conn., one of the wealthiest municipalities in the nation. But the historic shipping and trade center, also known in the mid-20th century as the home of the Life Savers Candy Company and other factory operations, is moving full steam ahead with the emergence of a retail and service economy.
The changing face of the village, which is part of the Town of Rye, has been partly the result of an economic makeover linked to a larger downtown revitalization strategy. Supported by the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC), business owners within a defined area of Port Chester have been securing matching grants for improvements ranging from new awnings and signage to reconstruction of building storefronts. As a result, the historic character of the downtown business district has been enhanced while economic and residential activity increases.
In 2002, Port Chester got a major lift with the opening of a dual-level, 148,000-square-foot Costco wholesale warehouse operation on Westchester Avenue. As the central focus of The Waterfront at Port Chester – a 27-acre, $100 million urban redevelopment effort along the Byram River – Costco was the first of several stores to make their debut. Retail developers G&S Investors soon secured other tenants such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Super Stop & Shop and a 14-screen Loew’s Cineplex – all located near a half-mile-long pedestrian promenade. Kohl’s discount department store is another large retailer in the area.
Elsewhere in Port Chester, the former Boston Post Road location of New York United Hospital, which closed in 2005, is part of a 1.1-million-square-foot redevelopment project known as The Gateway. Plans call for five residential towers together with commercial and office space.
Port Chester’s downtown Restaurant Row has gained a regional reputation as “the restaurant capital of Westchester,” offering international cuisine at dozens of critically acclaimed establishments such as celebrity Chef Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge trattoria.
Port Chester is also building additional soccer fields and park amenities for the roughly 28,000 residents. www.portchesterny.com
• The six-story building that served as a Life Savers Candy Company factory between 1920 and 1984 remains a prominent Port Chester landmark, though it has been converted into loft-style condominium residences.
• Celebrating its 80th birthday, Port Chester High School was built in 1933 on the grounds of a former country club. The school’s marching band appeared in the 2007 film Spider-Man 3.