John Verni and Chris Verni, brothers and partners in Verco Properties, LLC, began their renovation of the old Mamaroneck Train Station with a formal groundbreaking on Thursday, April 22. The brothers bought the dilapidated building for $1.25 million from the MTA in 2008 and will now begin transforming the structure into space for retail, professional offices and a restaurant.
Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum and a number of the trustees were among those gathered to celebrate the start of the project.
According to the developers, the Richardsonian Romanesque style station was originally constructed in 1888 and later moved in 1927 when the train tracks were elevated. In recent years, commuters have been buying their tickets from electronic vending machines and waiting for trains on the platform, after the MTA ceased operating and maintaining facilities in the building. Meanwhile, the building has falling into disrepair – both inside and out.
The Verni brothers indicated they have hired a Westchester firm noted for work in historical restoration, Stephen Tilly Architects.
Chris Verni lives in Larchmont, is a former Village of Larchmont Trustee and a current member of the Larchmont Planning Board.
“Mamaroneck is a wonderful community – there are a lot of great parts to it, “ he said. “This kind of development could serve as a springboard for vibrancy in that part of the village.”
The station house overlooks Columbus Park and is across from new, upscale condominiums. It is also a short block from the central business district on Mamaroneck Avenue.
“We are excited to begin the rebirth of this important community asset,” said John Verni, who lives in New Rochelle and practices law with the White Plains firm of Kent, Hazzard, Wilson, Conroy, Verni & Freeman, LLP.
Chris Verni noted that approval process took a while – as did finding the right contractors. “We want to be sure we do it right,” he said. The local land use boards recommended a number of changes, including some “green” features that were incorporated into the plans.
At this point, “the economy is looking good – and this is a great opportunity,” said Chris Verni.
The renovation will take around six months. Once complete, the new station will be the new home for Verco Properties, now based in New York City. Chris and John Verni are the third generation in charge of the real estate investment, redevelopment and management company.
Chris Verni said buying the station was more than just a financial decision. “We did it as much for business as for a neat thing to do,” he said.
The Verni brothers will not, however, be operating the restaurant that will be housed in the station house. “As my wife can attest, I barely know how to make scrambled eggs,” said Chris Verni.