Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Fate of Bliss Towers

Yesterday, the following notice appeared in the Register-Star.

It appears that the persistent complaints of Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) about the conditions in some of the apartments in Bliss Towers may have had an effect, but the vague heading "Miscellaneous Site Repairs at Columbia Apartments" makes it unclear exactly where the apartments to be repaired are located. Also, the nature of the repairs is not specified. It was hoped that some clarity might be forthcoming at the Hudson Housing Authority board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. last night, but that meeting was cancelled for lack of a quorum.

The perennial question with Bliss Towers--at least for the past ten years--is: Should the building be renovated, or should it be replaced? Four years ago, in 2010, it seemed that demolition and replacement was the favored course: replacing the 132 units in the nine-story high rise and the nearby "low rise" with 50 or 60 two-unit buildings constructed throughout the city as well as on the current site of Bliss Towers. 

In August 2010, Jeff First, executive director of the Hudson Housing Authority, told the Common Council Legal Committee that the consensus of the HHA Board was to demolish Bliss Towers. He called the building a "money pit" and a "maintenance nightmare." At that time, he was asking the Legal Committee to introduce a resolution that would give HHA "site control" on a number of City-owned properties that HHA wanted for its new "scattered site" units. Site control was a requirement for a grant First was seeking from DHCR (Division of Housing and Community Renewal), and granting it would mean that the City would hold properties it owned and HHA wanted off the market until HHA could buy them for "something close to fair market value." The grant application in question was due in February 2011, but its fate is unknown.

The last Gossips recalls hearing about the plan to replace Bliss Towers with duplexes scattered throughout the city was a statement from Common Council president Don Moore, who said, if memory serves, that Omni Housing Development, the affordable housing development group that was going to undertake the project, had determined that the plan was not feasible because there were not enough potential building sites.

So now there is this request for bids. One wonders if it represents a change of heart about the future of Bliss Towers, or if it is just another investment in a building scorned as a "money pit"?


  1. I heard a rumor - no idea if its true or not - that a $200K grant had been received . Since nothing has been mentioned publicly maybe this rumor is false ... ?

  2. Thank you, Carole, for keeping track of the history of these things. The assertion by Omni that there weren't enough building sites to justify "rebuilding" Bliss Towers in various other locations is a reminder that we need to verify such assertions. With Mr. Moore's recent suggestion that the City build on 30 acres of vacant land behind the high school, we see the same assertion rearing its head: no space in Hudson. I hope the City does a land use survey before it starts acting on assumptions that may or not be true. --peter meyer

  3. bliss towers has not been assessed by a real engineering company. no one in the city knows what they are talking about until the engineering report is done.
    bliss towers repair will be much cheaper than trying to build 60 units on city land.

    repair the tower and let it be. it has services useful to the elderly and disabled.

    hudson does not need more land off the tax roles. it needs more tax paying buildings.

    are the tax payers of hudon so rich that they can afford all this free housing ?

  4. There's at least one vacancy on the board. With an appointment to that seat, perhaps there would be fewer meeting cancellations because a quorum couldn't be mustered. There have been at least two cancellations in the last several months.

  5. Are not those appointments to the board via ... the Mayor ?

  6. Indeed, the Mayor appoints all but two of the Board Members. The other two are elected by the tenants, though there are questions whether the last election (or any election) has been done transparently and openly.