Tom Rossi, of Redburn Development, which is transforming an old industrial building near the train station and beside what was once South Bay into a hotel called The Wick, appeared at the Hudson Development Corporation meeting on Tuesday to make what seemed a simple request. Work on the hotel is expected to be completed in late October and a ribbon cutting is anticipated for early November. Redburn is replacing the sidewalk on front of the building, along Cross Street, with stamped concrete, to look like pavers, and to further improve the "sense of arrival" for the hotel, Rossi wants to demolish one section of the abandoned Kaz warehouse on the south side of the building.
To illustrate the concern about a sense of arrival, these pictures show the hotel as it appears now to someone exiting the short-term parking lot at the train station. Granted from this vantage point there is a lot detracting from the sense of arrival, but from inside the hotel the biggest problem would be the abandoned warehouse, which intrudes on the view of the river and the mountains and detracts from "the experience you get from being in the hotel."
The old Kaz warehouse buildings are owned by HDC, and HDC has been trying to market the site for redevelopment for a while now. The effort has been hampered by the need to acquire land from CSX that lies between the warehouses and South Front Street. During Tuesday's meeting, before Rossi presented his request to demolish a section of the warehouse, Sheena Salvino, executive director of HDC, talked about this year's Restore NY money and suggested that the City apply for a Restore NY grant to demo Kaz. What Rossi proposed was that Redburn take down one section of the building and then build a wall to close off the remaining part of the building. Redburn would pay the cost of the demolition and the wall, which is estimated will be $60,000.
Responding to the request, HDC Board member Bob Rasner commented, "We should have been looking at this idea a long time ago," and went on to talk about the pressure of having to make a last minute decision, since the hotel is set to open in about a month. Rossi acknowledged the problem, telling Rasner, "I totally should have done this sooner." This exchange seemed puzzling, since Gossips reported nine months ago, in January 2017, that Rossi had told the Common Council Economic Development Committee he wanted to see the Kaz warehouse buildings demolished before the hotel opened and indicated that Redburn Development had offered to pay for a partial demolition of the buildings.
At the end of their meeting, the HDC Board went into an executive session, which lasted for a very long time, to discuss Rossi's request. When the executive session was finally over, Rossi was told that Salvino would provide a list of questions about the details of the proposed demolition and wall, which Rossi was to answer in writing before October 6. On October 10, at 1 p.m., there will be a special meeting of the board to decide on whether or not to grant Rossi's request.
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