Wednesday, May 26, 2021

After Eleven Years

Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) has owned the property variously known as the Kaz warehouses, the Kaz site, and the Montgomery Street property for eleven years now, and during that time Gossips has been monitoring and reporting on HDC's several but unsuccessful attempts to develop the property and get it back on the tax rolls. In 2017, the lack of access to the site from Front Street seems to have jettisoned a plan would have had Sustainable Community Associates construct mixed-use buildings on the site. In 2018, three developers submitted proposals for the property, but complaints about lack of transparency and community engagement brought that effort to a halt. Since then, HDC has acquired from CSX the parcel of land needed to give the site access to Front Street, and now, HDC is trying once again to sell the parcel, which HDC board president Bob Rasner said years ago "sucks enormous energy" and diverts HDC from its core mission of supporting economic development in Hudson.

In his opening remarks at yesterday's HDC board meeting, Rasner said, "The byword for today's meeting is decision." He offered this definition of decision: "A conclusion reached after consideration." He went on to say, "The result of our decision is going to change the role of this corporation dramatically," and then announced the formation of a Program Committee, to be made up of board members and community members, and mentioned preliminary contact with the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park about creating a training program for jobs in the hospitality industry.

The major decision Rasner was alluding was the decision to sell the Montgomery Street property. The board had set a minimum price for the property at $2 million. Rasner reported the property had recently been appraised at $2.3 million. He explained that they now had "two serious offers," one that had come in "less than 24 hours ago." He said the two offers were "very, very similar": both exceeded the minimum price; both were cash offers; both had no contingencies; both came from "business people in this city." Rasner told the board he wanted to "sit down with both bidders and bring the offers to the board in a week."

Board member Steve Dunn questioned why HDC was pursuing a negotiated sale rather than going through a bid process, suggesting they needed something is writing from the NYS Authorities Budget Office (ABO) approving their course of action. Branda Maholtz, HDC executive director, explained, "Once the board decides they have an accepted offer on the table, it must go to ABO for approval."

Board member Seth Rogovoy asked if Regenesis and Mpact had expressed interest in the site. Rasner said he and Maholtz had met with representatives of the groups and reported they had no interest in the purchasing the property. He explained, "They are consultants who help the seller get community buy-in," and added, "Their strength is taking property that is worth nothing and making it valued." Rasner noted the property in question already had value. Rogovoy suggested the board needed "a really good consultant to help us."

Board member Nick Haddad assured his colleagues and the public that, throughout the entire process, HDC has been sensitive and forward thinking. He said the potential buyers are "doing more than just paying lip service to our concerns." He concluded, "We don't want to sell to some soulless developer."

Rasner told the board that they had received "very detailed presentations from the two potential buyers," which presumably will be presented to the HDC board in a week's time. The public will have to wait longer to learn who the potential buyers are and what is contained in those detailed presentations.
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5 comments:

  1. The should donate it to the land conservancy on condition they plow the buildings down and let the trees grow back. That would be a good use of the space.

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  2. Do not tell me one of the potential buyers is Galvan. Do not tell me that.

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  3. Glad to see some motion on this property.  The sooner we get some good stuff happening on the waterfront, the better our chances of marginalizing that nasty gravel dump and truck route.

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  4. This iteration of the HDC board and exec director Branda Maholtz have worked very diligently to prepare for the appropriate disposition of this property so they can focus on their core mission. Special shout-out to board member Steve Dunn, who really did a deep dive into the weeds on land use to acquire the CSX parcel and sort out access and ownership issues to a number of other HDC parcels.


    And a CIA satellite campus would be a wonderful way to develop Hudson's workforce and support the local hospitality industry. Even people who do not make a lifelong career in commercial kitchens can stand to benefit from some of the skills taught in these work environments. Hopefully, more professional training for Hudson residents will also cut down on some of the labor abuses we see in the local industry.

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