Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Depot District at the IDA

The Galvan Foundation's plans for the "Depot District" and its quest for PILOTs for the project were on the agenda of the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) at its meeting yesterday.

In February, Gossips reported on the terms of the PILOTs sought by Galvan. For 75 North Seventh Street, the building proposed to be mixed income, the PILOT agreement would be for thirty years, and the payment in lieu of taxes would be 32 percent of what would actually be owed in taxes. It still is not clear--not to to Gossips at least--if the assessment on which the property taxes are calculated would fluctuate during the thirty years or if it would remain the same as it was when the PILOT was initiated. 

Proposed for 75 North Seventh Street
For 708 State Street, which will be market rate apartments built with private financing, Galvan is seeking a PILOT for twenty-five years. For the first ten years, there would be a 75 percent reduction in property taxes. In the remaining years of the PILOT, the reduction would decrease incrementally until in Year 25 it would be 5 percent. 

Proposed for 708 State Street
The commercial spaces in both buildings would not to subject to the PILOT.

At yesterday's IDA meeting, it was asserted that 75 North Seventh Street would be: "Total fiscal benefit of $4,434,030 to the City of Hudson and Schools at a cost of $2,719,284 [in forgone property taxes], representing a 1.63 to 1 benefit to cost ratio."   

For 708 State Street, the following cost-benefit ratio was presented: "Total fiscal benefit of $5,888,751 to the City of Hudson and Schools at cost of $2,811,728, presenting a benefit to cost ratio of 2.09 to 1. 

In the discussion that followed the presentation, Rebecca Wolff asked why a PILOT was being requested for the market rate building, suggesting that the developer was "looking for more profit." Dan Kent, vice president of initiatives for Galvan, told her they needed to demonstrate income for bank financing, but without a PILOT there would to no profit and no financing.

Wolff also asked about the commitment Galvan had made in March 2018 to create 29 units of affordable housing in ten buildings it owned throughout the city. In November 2020, when one of those buildings--356 Union Street--went on the market, a building which represented seven of those 29 units, Gossips reviewed the commitment made in 2018 and the progress that had been made: "29 Units, 31 Months Later." Not much has changed since then November except 356 Union Street now has a new owner. 

Responding to Wolff's questioning, Kent said a number of them had been completed, citing 335 Allen Street a couple of times, and stressed that it had been "an entirely voluntary commitment." He promised to provide an "update on that initiative."

City treasurer Heather Campbell noted that Galvan has a large number of vacant properties in Hudson and asked: "Why is there not an effort to restore these before creating 'this housing empire'?" Kent replied: "It's a process. It's hard to do all of them at once." He assured her that the restoration of existing properties was going forward at the same time. He also said the Galvan Foundation "needs to pursue a larger scale project to support the creation of really low-income housing."

Wolff asked specifically about 501 Union, a building she said has been vacant "for a very long time." She asked Kent, "Why has that building not been pursued? . . . Why is it not on the radar when there's a housing crisis?" Kent responded by saying it was a matter of "how fast we can get something online and how much it will cost."

The building at 501 Union Street came before the Historic Preservation Commission in
October 2020. A certificate of appropriateness was sought to replace the current temporary replacement windows with permanent windows, remove the fire escape, and add shutters to the Union Street side of the building. Walter Chatham, who was representing Galvan before the HPC, explained that replacing the windows was a necessary preliminary step to beginning the interior renovation, which he said involved creating studio and one bedroom apartments. Yesterday, when Wolff asked about the income mix proposed for the building, Kent said it had not yet been determined.


  1. 'Dan Kent, vice president of initiatives for Galvan, told her they needed to demonstrate income for bank financing, but without a PILOT there would to no profit and no financing.'

    Translation: We're actually borrowing the money from the property tax payers in Hudson but the bank gets the interest.

    'City treasurer Heather Campbell noted that Galvan has a large number of vacant properties in Hudson and asked: "Why is there not an effort to restore these before creating 'this housing empire'?" Kent replied: "It's a process. It's hard to do all of them at once."'

    Translation: There is no translation for this level of absurdity. If it's "hard to do all of them at once," it must be even harder to do more of them, you know, at once.

    Conclusion: Dan Kent is not the most full-of-shit person in Hudson. He doesn't live here. He just comes here to peddle lies in support of the poverty industry.

  2. "but without a PILOT there would to no profit"
    Yes, the rules are very different for the 1%, you can legally and transparently evade taxes- because duh- paying them isn't profitable.

  3. Why are we even bothering to discuss the PILOTS for this monster development? THERE IS NO PARKING AVAILABLE FOR THE 150-200 CARS THIS WILL ADD TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Show us the project is viable, THEN we will offer you our time to work out your tax gifts and all the other details. No parking, no talkie.

  4. I agree with all the comments above. Galvan's representative and business methods are outrageous and predatory.

    1. that is the way democratic socialism works.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. The phrase "voluntary commitment " gives me pause. It strikes me as from the same lexicon as "alternative facts". A patently oxymoronic term that attempts to obscure a disregard for simple truth. I think we need to ask Mr. Kent to go through all his presentations to the city, with all their promises, and flag for us which of their commitments they consider "voluntary" and which they consider "binding" by which I mean corresponding to the the more widely accepted meaning of the word "commitment". Now that we understand that "commitment" in the Galvan universe can have multiple meanings - sorta like a wedding vow from Donald Trump - it helps explains why they regularly and shamelessly disregard former promises.

  6. This city will NEVER learn when it comes to Galvan. Why are we even entertaining new developments, when simply completing the work on all of the properties they have been warehousing in excess of 10 YEARS would provide a lot more available housing?

  7. The large sign on 501 Union sums it all up: GALVAN FOUNDATION WORK IN PROGRESS. Galvan's teams of wolves takes us all for country bumpkin fools: Distract, overwhelm, lie, misrepresent, smile, delay, lie some more. B Huston

  8. The strategy seems to be that they will keep submitting major development plans with requests for PILOTs until one of them gets through. These reviews and discussions are a waste of City time and taxpayer money. The City has other priorities to focus on.

  9. The wolf in sheeps clothing has revealed himself yet Hudson still wants to play. What an easy mark Hudson governance must be for this devious game to continue for so long.

  10. As the architect tasked with restoring 501 Union Street I would like to explain something: This wonderful building has a structural condition inside that defies description- every floor is different and columns were removed at various points in the building history that have caused the structural capacity of the building to be
    reduced. As you may know, the exterior of the building was completely re-done and the building was sealed. And then it continued to settle....
    the reason people knock old buildings down is that they are sometimes too far gone and too expensive to restore. Anyone who saw this building before it was restored to its present condition knows that a tremendous amount of work has been done just to bring it to a stabilized condition where we can now begin the renovation.

    With very few exceptions the Galvan properties are all undergoing stabilization and restoration; as evidenced by the open building permits and the work that is being done. o my knowledge, Galvan pays property taxes on 501 Union, so it is not costing the city anything to wait while the work is done in an properly and in an orderly fashion.

    Finally, do you really think these projects are money-makers? Do you really believe that buying and restoring mostly derelict properties and then making them available for various tiers of housing in a single neighborhood is a Machiavellian
    scheme to ruin your city while lining Galvan's coffers? You are mis-informed and spreading misinformation if you don't really take the time to think it through and simply parrot what others have said.

    I have made a choice to support Galvan based on clear evidence that they are helping to "lift up" Hudson and the people who need help the most. The fact that the do it without much in the way of support from you informed citizens increases my admiration for what they are trying to do immensely.

    1. Mr. Chatham - I submit 70 and 72 N. 5th Street as more evidence of your and Galvan's insincere talk of housing Hudson residents, of "lifting us up." These two Galvan owned houses likely housed families before Galvan purchased them. They have been vacant for years and they look like crap, and get worse by the year. The roof of 72 should have been replaced long ago, probably same for 70. 2 years ago I notified Code Enforcement that pigeons were roosting on the rotted out eaves of 72. The sidewalk along Prospect is insulting. Vacant, neglected eyesore houses never worked on, bringing down the neighborhood with many decent and respectable inhabited structures. How on earth is this lifting Hudson up? Apparently you have drunk Galvan's Kool Aid. Can you explain why Galvan bought those 2 perfectly decent properties? Was it so that no one else could get their hands on them and ACTUALLY LIVE IN THEM? B HUSTON

    2. I understand that any developer takes risks. Asking for PILOTs reduces the risks. It would be helpful to know what the NET profit margin (over 10 years) which the Galvan organization finds acceptable. Everyone understands that there can be huge amounts of data skewing when such things are calculated. How expenses are allocated and which costs and salaries should be included determines everything. What I am suggesting is that maybe the profits/numbers Galvan needs to complete a project are just not acceptable to Hudson. Maybe now that our city's demographics are changing we don't even need whatever Galvan has to offer anymore. Galvan needs to improve ALL their offers and stop playing games.

    3. Walter, you’re being somewhat disingenuous in your post: you are on the organization’s payroll and, as such, the opinions you express (and your talking points) reflect Galvan’s interests, Galvan’s priorities and Galvan’s strategy. Please explain how littering our civic landscape with abandoned projects, in various states of disrepair, emptied of tenants, is “lifting up” anyone but your boss (and, by extension, you). You lay with dogs, you end up with fleas.

  11. When the first proposal for 7th street, with the very lengthy PILOT period was proposed, I contacted CC and the Mayor asking for details on the revenue overtime and costs so that we could evaluate the profit that would accrue to Galvan. In one presentation, Kent was clear that they wanted this length of time so that they could have a profitable investment. The mayor in other discussions defended Galvan saying they are a business, they have to make a profit. The whole foundation thing seems like smoke and mirrors. If they were really altruistic, they might listen to the residents rather than pushing their own agenda.

  12. I don't quite understand all the strong opposition to more housing in Hudson. Every day it seems more and more homes are lost to AirBnB or other hospitality services. If Galvan, or anyone else for that matter, didn't work to renovate and add new apartments and homes, the crisis would only get worse. The fewer homes in a highly desirable place there are, the more expensive they get as wealthier people outbid those with less means. People would be forced out at higher rates and potentially eat up farmland in Columbia County, polluting the air and congesting the streets as fewer and fewer people would be able to walk and bike. For the commenters lamenting all the new parking required, if we build to allow people to walk and bike everywhere they need to go (and build more grocery/fresh food stores downtown), we won't need as many spaces for cars. Housing and everyday services help reduce the need for cars.

    Maybe this PILOT isn't the way to go forward, but new projects that aren't hotels have to be given some benefit because they alleviate the struggles many are facing. To Walter's point, many buildings in Hudson are not in great condition, and this requires a lot of time and money to repair. Most projects need to go in front of the council and Historic commission, which adds more time (not that we shouldn't advocate for good design in keeping with local context, but it just adds time). Unless you have all the cash on hand to carry out projects like this (which few people have, its so expensive even to just repair one home without bank financing), banks lend the money to carry out projects, and they require certain metrics to be passed. Galvan is not greedy for building market rate, they would not be able to build the affordable units at all without them. With the cost of labor, materials, taxes, insurance, even to renovate existing buildings and keep rents affordable costs many hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is preposterous to me that people would rather see Hudson suffer through an affordability crisis because every element is not to each person's individual liking. So long as we get affordable units mixed in with market rate (so we're not segregating people), spaces for services, community spaces, offices and small businesses, we can't let great be the enemy of good. If we do, Hudson will devolve even further into a land of inequality next to dilapidation, which no one here wants.

    I'm all for more affordable housing and for Galvan to renovate all of their units as quickly as possible and not leave them vacant for extended periods of time, which is wrong. But the city needs to do what it can within reason to stave off a severe crisis. If that's an abridged PILOT program, speeding up approvals, or even agreeing to give benefits if Galvan renovates their existing buildings as affordable units, we should support that!

    This is an exciting project that could benefit all residents and visitors to Hudson, and encourage more aid to the community in the future. We need to forge a path to keep Hudson open and welcome as it grows into new highs in the coming years!!

    1. Do you live in the neighborhood around 7th and State?