This Tuesday’s Board of Trustee meeting (7:30 p.m. Municipal Building) will focus discussion on two projects of some importance to our village. The first involves the future of the remaining structure on the waterfront ("Building 52"), and the second involves a proposed residential rental development on Saw Mill River Road (9A).
The first item is a presentation by BP/Arco of their position on Building 52, the remaining large former industrial building located at the north end of the waterfront and right across from the bridge by the train station. This 110,000 square foot building, a classic sawtooth-roofed industrial space from the turn of the last century, covers two acres and has a long history in Hasting's industrial past.
A variety of industrial machines and items were manufactured there, including at least some of the wire insulation that is responsible for the severe PCB contamination of the waterfront property. This building is the last vestige of an industrial past that once covered the waterfront with a number of similar buildings that once provided jobs for thousands of workers.
Three years ago, when another rusted and compromised building, "Building 51", was demolished as part of the beginning of the clean-up of the site, BP/Arco set aside $2,000,000 for the study and preservation of this remaining structure.
In October 2013, the Board asked (here) that BP seek an estimate to the cost of what it would cost to safely "mothball" the building for the next eight years while the site was remediated with the hope that we could preserve it and possibly use it as part of the redevelopment of the waterfront.
This cost estimate would be built on the basis of a engineering study done in 2010 that looked at the state of the building. There are a number of examples, ranging from the Dia Beacon museum to Fulton Street Seaport where large old buildings like this were beautifully restored and repurposed for modern use.
The cost estimate (here) stated that the required mothballing activities would run in excess of six million dollars, far more than the remaining monies from the original $2m set aside by BP/Arco. The study was sent with a cover letter from BP (here) indicating that they had no long-term plans for the building and that they were inclined to “...eliminate it to reduce liability, terminate ineffective annual maintenance, and to enhance effective remediation.”
Building 52 (as well as the land under it, and the full responsibility for the clean-up), after all, belongs to BP/Arco. There’s no point for the Village to carry on dreaming future plans for a building whose full renovation costs the Village government does not intend to cover and which BP is inclined to demolish anyway. While we had some further questions about the estimate (here), we determined that the best way forward on Building 52 was to have BP speak to the issue directly and answer questions from the Board and the public.
BP’s presentation is first on the meeting agenda (after a presentation to retiring Bill Finkeldey). We expect it to begin around 8PM. The public is welcome and can ask questions once BP has finished their presentation is.
Saw Mill Lofts
Ginsburg Development Company has submitted to the Board of Trustees a modified version of a previously approved concept plan for a development on Saw Mill River Road known as the Saw Mill Lofts project.
This 66-unit residential rental development is proposed on vacant land on Saw Mill River Road, north of Jackson Avenue as you head to Ardsley, right across from the office complex. It's on the left hand side (west) of 9A where some parking lots and scrub open land currently exist. The previous project’s approval has long since lapsed when Ginsburg decided not to build what was a live/work concept that they stated marketing studies showed would not sell.
Now that the economy is slowly improving, they are back with a new proposal that is smaller in size, with three buildings in a campus setting, of which one is composed of 12 affordable units and the other with 27 market-rate units apiece. While the land is in the Village of Hastings, it happens to be within the Ardsley School District.
The specific zoning on this site requires a preliminary review of the proposal by the Board of Trustees, which then passes it onto the Planning Board for the full review cycle. This Tuesday, the Board of Trustees will discuss the proposal and decide whether to pass it onto the Planning Board or discuss it further.
Copies of the documents will be submitted to the Library for anyone who would like to carry out their own review.
Both the resolution of the future of Building 52 and the Saw Mill Lofts project represent real impacts on the Village landscape and future. This Tuesday, you have a chance to hear the discussion and participate. These meetings are televised on cable as well as can be replayed from the internet here.
Thank you for your attention,
Peter Swiderski, Mayor of Hastings-on-Hudson