At the Common Council meeting on Tuesday night, Kevin Walker presented plans to turn the old Dunn's warehouse, across Water Street from Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, into a "bistro styled" restaurant and bar, with 200 tables on two floors and in a glass enclosed atrium. Before the presentation began, Gossips managed to snap a picture of this rendering of exterior elevations and interior space use.
In introducing Walker, Council President Don Moore called the topic of Walker's presentation "a particularly exciting project," adding that "even before we have gotten completion of the LWRP, we are making the kind of progress we want to make."
In his presentation, Walker explained that "back a few months ago," he and Eric Galloway had a discussion with Moore and Mayor Rick Scalera about how to get private investment to stimulate development on the waterfront. Galloway expressed his willingness to "take a risk" and make a commitment to the waterfront, and Moore and Scalera agreed that a restaurant would be the "ideal catalyst to future development."
It seemed on Tuesday that yet another Galloway "group" has been created to carry out this project, joining the trio that already exist: the Galvan Group, the Historic Preservation Group, and the Lantern Organization. The new group is called "Warren Street Partners." When asked by Third Ward Alderman Ellen Thurston who made up the Warren Street Partners, Walker indicated that Warren Street Partners was essentially the same as the Galvan Group. At fact, as Gossips later learned, Warren Street Partners isn't a new group at all. It's simply a name change for the Galvan Group, which, if memory serves, used to go by the name Liehtan.
Warren Street Partners is proposing to purchase the former Dunn's warehouse building from the City of Hudson for $250,000 ($50,000 less than the $300,000 that was written into the 2011 budget as income from the sale of the building) and to invest $2 million in renovating it. They anticipate that, after they have entered into a deal with the City and have approvals from the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission, the project will take eighteen months to complete. The building will then be leased to a chef or someone already in the restaurant business to establish and operate the restaurant there.
Thurston asked who the architect for the project would be and was told that they were working with "Charlie" Vieni. But Charles Vieni is not an architect; he's a structural engineer. He's the structural engineer who's recommending that the front wall of 211 Union Street be rebuilt as a brick "veneer" over a new interior wall. He also worked, as a structural engineer, on the renovation of the buildings that make up Club Helsinki in Hudson.
For a little levity at the end of the presentation, Scalera asked Walker if there was any way they could work some columns into the design for the building, explaining, after the requisite laughter subsided, that he had asked the question for Gossips' benefit.
For another take on the presentation and the project, see Lindsay Suchow's article in today's Register-Star: "Eatery planned for waterfront."