It's not clear what the fate of the plan for 75 North Seventh Street is. That plan may have been abandoned, but the Galvan Foundation seems still to be pursuing its Depot District Initiative, but what that involves, beyond turning the historic Hudson Upper Depot into a brewery and acquiring the former Community Theatre to be the "gateway" to the district is not yet known.
The meeting began with mayor's aide Michael Chameides providing an update on the City's plans for affordable housing. Chameides talked about the Affordable Housing Development Plan, which is expected to identify four or five priority projects and strategize a timeline for moving them forward so they do not compete with each other for financing from NYS Homes and Community Renewal and other funding sources.
In October, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress was chosen to create the Affordable Housng Development Plan, for a fee of $30,000. Yesterday, Chameides reported that they were "finalizing the funding stream." The original scheme for paying for the plan was that agencies and organizations involved in affordable housing in Hudson would each contribute $5,000. To Gossips' knowledge, only Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) and Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) have committed $5,000. Chameides said that developing the plan would take six months, from start to finish, but it is not known when Pattern for Progress will begin its work.
Even before the Affordable Housing Development Plan is complete, the Hudson Housing Authority is beginning to craft its own plan for new housing. In 2018, HHA pursued a plan to construct two new buildings on State Street, just across the street from Bliss Towers. One of the buildings was to have 33 units; the other 40 units.
plan was abandoned in the summer of 2019, when it was discovered that the land on which the buildings were to be constructed could not sustain what was being proposed.
What is now being contemplated is building on another part of the site owned by HHA: the area of west of Bliss Towers, where Columbia Apartments, a.k.a "the low rises," are now located. (The plan involves demolishing the low rises.)
There was some discussion about testing the soil to learn what the site was capable of sustaining before formulating a plan. Marie Balle, chair of the HHA board, mused, "What if we develop a plan, and we can't execute it, as happened with State Street?" She asked HHA executive director Tim Mattice how much it would cost to do a study to determine the land's capacity to sustain new construction. Mattice told her it would cost a lot and assured her that "developers factor in the possibility that a project won't work out." Balle replied, "We cant wait months and months to find out we can't do what we want."
Despite the uncertainty about the stability of the land, it was decided that the project goals would be laid out for presentation to the public at the next meeting of the HHA Board of Commissioners, to take place on Wednesday, January 13, at 6:00 p.m.