Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Many Faces of Galvan

Last night's informal meeting of the Common Council went on for three and a half hours and attracted, at its high point, forty-nine attendees. Predictably, the topic that inspired the most and most heated discussion was the resolution relating to the requests before the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) for PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) for the two buildings the Galvan Foundation wants to construct on North Seventh Street, in the "Depot District." 

One of the buildings being proposed--75 North Seventh Street--will have "permanently affordable" apartments for low- and moderate-income households. The other--708 State Street--will be all market rate apartments. Galvan is seeking a PILOT for each of the buildings.

At last night's informal Council meeting we learned that the resolution had been drafted by aldermen John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) and Jane Trombley (First Ward). The resolution makes these two recommendations:
  1. The Common Council encourages the IDA to decline the application for a PILOT tax abatement for the market rate rental housing development proposed for 708 State Street, Hudson, NY.
  2. The Common Council agrees with the PILOT tax abatement for the mixed-used rental housing development and encourages the IDA to stipulate that there will be NO involvement from Galvan Partners LLC, or any other for-profit subsidiary associated with any member of the Galvan Foundation, for any building management or construction management of either of the proposed building properties.
The involvement of Galvan Partners LLC has been an issue Rosenthal has mentioned more than once. At the IDA meeting last Tuesday, he called for a commitment that Galvan Partners would have no involvement in the "Depot District" project. When Rosenthal made this request, Dan Kent of the Galvan Foundation said the project was "a lot bigger than the crew we have for Galvan Partners." Instead, Baxter Construction from Poughkeepsie would be the general contractor. Rosenthal's reasons for not wanting Galvan Partners involved are important to understand.

Everyone is probably familiar with the crew of Galvan Partners, often seen around town in T-shirts or hoodies with the Galvan Foundation logo or driving trucks with the Galvan logo on the door.

Last night, Rosenthal observed that Galvan was slow to rehab its inventory of properties--many of which have stood vacant for more than ten years--and make them habitable "because they only use Galvan Partners LLC to do the work." Aside from the contribution these vacant properties make to the city's housing shortage, there seem to be other questions surrounding Galvan Partners LLC, among them its relationship to Galvan Initiatives Foundation and other Galvan entities.

In October 2019, Galvan Initiatives Foundation sought and received a Rural Community Investment award of up to $1.15 million from New York State Homes and Community Renewal to renovate the basement at the Galvan Armory for use by the COARC daycare center, Starting Place. The documentation of the award (the relevant information begins on page 80) identifies the following "Project Team":

("Galvin" in the name of the Management Company is undoubtedly a typo.)

The document found on the Homes and Community Renewal website provides this description of Galvan Partners LLC, the general contractor for the daycare center project:

T. Eric Galloway, the Gal of Galvan, is identified as the principal of Galvan Partners LLC, but strangely, his role as as co-founder and president of the Galvan Initiatives Foundation is not in the description of the developer found in the same document:

Financing projects that have a public benefit with public money is a complicated process, one that seems to require the skill and expertise of lawyers to orchestrate. To the nonlawyer, though, it appears that, by hiring his own for-profit construction company to do work funded all or in part with public funds, Galloway may be funneling public money into his own coffers. That may not be the case, but, as Rosenthal stated at the Council meeting last night, "transparency about [the Galvan] operation has to be addressed."

The resolution introduced to the Council last night begins with this unequivocal statement:
WHEREAS, the Common Council fully and without reservation supports the development of Affordable and Workforce housing within the City of Hudson.
At the outset of the discussion of the resolution, Trombley stressed, "I want to underscore that the Council fully supports affordable housing." Still, the resolution brought criticism from some members of the Common Council, in particular Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), who as majority leader chairs the IDA. Garriga protested, "People need housing," apparently ignoring the fact that separate PILOTs are being requested for the two buildings and the resolution was only recommending that the IDA deny a PILOT to the market rate building. When Rebecca Wolff read aloud portions of the resolution to illustrate that it was not recommending denying a PILOT to the building proposed for 75 North Seventh Street--the one with low- and moderate-income apartments--Garriga sniped she was capable of reading for herself. 

Later, when public comment was invited, David Marston, who served as a First Ward alderman from 2012 to 2015, noted there were "dozens of vacant buildings in the First Ward" that are owned by Galvan and spoke of "dozens and dozens of families who were thrown out of affordable housing" as a consequence of Galvan acquisition. He concluded, "Now we are asked to give PILOTs to a developer to solve a problem he has created." Garriga countered by saying, "All I hear are attacks on Galvan," claiming she "didn't hear anything when [Phil] Gellert" was a major owner of rental property in Hudson. Responding to a comment made earlier by Trombley that the PILOTs Galvan was requesting were too long (the PILOT requested for 75 North Seventh Street is 30 years; the PILOT requested for 708 State Street is 25 years), Garriga stated, "Thirty years is the amount of time people live in their homes." Garriga went on to say, "The proposal is there now, and we cannot wait any longer." 

As Council president Tom DePietro pointed out, the resolution is only a recommendation to the IDA; it is not binding. The resolution, which was introduced last night, will be voted on at the Council's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 20, at 7:00 p.m.


  1. Kudos to the council members and Gossips for this diligent research. It reflects the high accuracy of what has been long discussed at the bars and other salons of the city for years. This cabal of “developers” and “progressives” have been using this city as a mill town for its industry of poverty.

    Now, what is the mayor — who lives in a Galvan-owned property going to do about this?

    And, more facetiously, who is going to teach Tiffany Garriga what “property rights” are?

  2. The lack of any experience or business acumen on the part of the common council is frightening. Why would the common council weigh in on the proposed PILOTS before CEDC releases its analysis on the costs and benefits of the project? How can they justify supporting a project without knowing the need (or is the forthcoming report to placate those of us who rely on facts and data to make informed decisions)? Are we content with a Forrest Gump government? Does anyone want to explain due diligence, or are we happy with stupid is as stupid does?

    Kristal Heinz

  3. The inability of the common council to logically think through anything that comes before them is indeed frightening. To attend a common council meeting is to basically tune into a Saturday Night Live Skit. Council members at the best are uninformed, unprepared, and feckless and at worst seem illiterate, deranged (they physically and verbally attack the public), and paid pawns of Galvan. So incredibly sad.

  4. Too many people who run things in Hudson are in the pocket of Galvan. I know that for a fact. When palms are greased, Galvan always gets its way.

  5. Seems to me that any construction of affordable housing should be tied to the elimination of our existing sub-standard housing. A worthy goal would be to upgrade the living conditions of people who are stuck in unsafe and unattractive structures along State and Columbia streets. Simply building more affordable housing will only serve to enlarge the population of economically disadvantage residents in Hudson. Avoiding the mistakes of the 1970's should be a high priority.

    1. The whole point of all this is to increase the population of disadvantaged people in Hudson so that the welfare checks and rents to poverty-centric landlords keep flowing in and growing - for, this is the business of social welfare.

      Add in DSS workers. drug rehab workers, and other specialized social workers, few of whom live in hudson. its a day job, its a white collar job. Its an industry.

      the population does not have to work, and does not have to pay rents or taxes.

      there are few jobs here for completely unskilled workers. think of it as "people storage". a huge vast warehouse supported by the state of unemployed and unemployable people.

  6. Isn't it true that there is another developer looking at JLE for affordable housing? Doesn't this mean that the elected officials of Hudson are finally in a stronger position to get a better deal for this city? Why cave to one developer when the 2 could compete against each other to offer better deals? It doesn't matter that these are separate locations, because there is HUGE profit potential for both of them. Affordable housing is needed which will also provide a reasonable tax base for all the services necessary and a have adequate parking. Some form of a PILOT could be acceptable but not 30 years, not 75 per cent discount! If they cave to this bad deal with Galvan, the JLE developer will try to get away with the same terrible terms.

  7. Phil Gellert may have been a shitty landlord, but my recollection is that he was definitely trying to rent his properties, not warehousing them.

  8. Say what you like about Phil. He might have not provided the best housing, but he employed the majority of his tenants.

  9. Kudos, Gossips, for a excellent article. It's about time someone put into words, complete with facts what has been going on in Hudson since Galvan came to town from NYC.(However, if there is a void, someone will step in). Good for John Rosenthal's resolution, I would hope the Common Council will step up to the plate, study the situation carefully and not just mouth off at each other.

  10. Eric Galloway had a HORRIBLE reputation as a slumlord in NYC before he decided to buy everything and everyone in Hudson. Look it up, Google is our friend.

  11. Is Galvan financially supporting the entrepreneurial interests of people on the common council? Yes.

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    2. There is very much a real housing affordability problem in Hudson right now, but you are correct that it is one brought on as much by Galvan's warehousing policy as any other factor. The myopic focus on Galvan developments as solutions to our problem by certain politicos in town who vociferously advocate for this project as a solution to our woes should raise eyebrows, especially when so many of them have financial ties (or deals for commercial space) with the Galvan organization.