In June, many were blindsided by a resolution passed by the Common Council authorizing a new Request for Expression of Interest (REI) to be issued for the Dunn building that included the three City-owned parcels north of the Dunn site. It will be remembered that Bonacio Construction from Saratoga Springs, best known for their residential development, was the only company that responded to the original REI, and the suggestion that the three parcels be included came from them.
Today, seeking an update on the planning for transforming the Furgary Boat Club into a city park, I discovered this in the summary of the DRI Committee meeting for July 15, under the item "Call with Bonacio Construction (Larry Novik and Amber Mathias)." There is no information in the summary about who from the DRI Committee was part of that call.
- Informal discussion with Bonacio on the possibilities for the Dunn Warehouse site, with or without the addition of the north parcels, and the overall vision and implementation plan for the area, including KAZ site status.
- Ideas about affordable housing, including high-level discussions about Area Median Income (AMI) targets and mixed income opportunities were discussed. City objectives related to the availability of homeownership for all income groups were discussed alongside development approaches that would yield affordable home ownership options.
- By including more parcels--and combining KAZ, Dunn, and the two parcels north of Dunn, a project could have less density. The development needs to have a minimum number of units to achieve economy of scale for development and property maintenance. With more parcels, the units can be spread out more across space.
- It was discussed that the site is subject to an environmental easement, which is discussed in detail in the Feasibility Report by Saratoga Associates.
- Potential financing was discussed, including Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) and DRI funding possibilities (e.g. potential financing for infrastructure, site preparation).
- A need to understand the City’s desires as it relates to the site goals and development strategy, including potential affordable and market rate housing and rental or ownership structures will help shape a better understanding of price points, tax burden and related financing objectives/needs.
- No promises or commitments were made and it was understood that KAZ is owned by the Hudson Development Corporation.
There are much better sites for such development. North Fourth between Columbia and State springs to mind. Let's hope the consultant the City hires to create a plan for developing affordable housing recognizes that turning this potential parkland and open space into a site for affordable housing is a bad idea.
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