Friday, April 1, 2016

Stalking the Kaz Warehouse Proposals

The calendar on the City of Hudson website indicated that Hudson Development Corporation was holding a special meeting at noon yesterday "to review financial information related to the 14-17 Montgomery Street proposals." "Financial information" was the clue that the HDC board would be going into executive session, but Gossips showed up anyway with the hope of learning who had made proposals for the old Kaz warehouses and what had been proposed.
Although HDC executive director Sheena Salvino continued to withhold even the most basic information about the proposals, maintaining that the people submitting the proposals did not want the information made public, she did indicate that only two proposals had been received. 

Attending the meeting did have its rewards. Gossips was there to hear Laura Margolis, executive creative director for Stageworks, express to the board her concerns about the request for proposals. One of the illustrations found in the RFP is the one below, identified as "Contextual Image of the Waterfront Area."

HDC Montgomery St. RFP
The text referencing this image reads: "Situated on the eastern side of the railroad tracks, the project site, the site of the a former warehouse for Kaz Industries, is highlighted in green. Highlighted in blue are City of Hudson's waterfront park and a municipal parking lot. The inactive CSX owned parcel is highlighted in yellow." Margolis took issue with the CSX parcel being characterized as "inactive." Since 2004, Stageworks has leased that parcel for use as its parking lot. 

Margolis explained that, although it was in the process of selling its building at 41 Cross Street to Redburn Development, Stageworks was not leaving the area. The plan is to build a new state-of-the-art 75 to 100 seat theater on the vacant lot just west of 41 Cross Street--a parcel owned by Stageworks--and they will continue to need their parking lot. "Audiences for theater are not kids," she asserted. "We need a parking lot." She told the board, "We don't want to be left out of the process," and asked if "HDC wanted to be in the habit of putting one business out of business for the sake of another."

Margolis also objected to description of Stageworks in the RFP as a "non-profit community theater." Stageworks is a not-for-profit, but it is an Actors' Equity theater. "We pay people a union wage," said Margolis. "We have garnered national press. Our work is substantial. We are a serious business."

After listening to Margolis and thanking her for her input, the six members of the HDC board present--Don Moore, Eileen Halloran, Carolyn Lawrence, Bart Delaney, Brian Stickles, and Claudia DeStefano--went into executive session "to discuss a real estate transaction," and audience members were required to leave.

1 comment:

  1. Someone in Ms. Margolis' position, having perfectly reasonable concerns, could easily have missed that crucial opportunity to defend her interests.

    When I read about the capacities of an Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which is a government body (transparent enough to FOIL), and I see that it overlaps significantly with the HDC's stated mission, I can't help but wonder why Hudson's IDA isn't doing most, or even all, of the work of the HDC?

    The HDC is just way too unaccountable. Always has been.