Last night at the Common Council meeting, after an executive session that lasted for forty-seven minutes, the Council heard a presentation from Adirondack Community Development (ADK), the group that seeks to purchase the former John L. Edwards School from Hudson City School District (HCSD). The principal spokesperson for ADK was Victor Salerno, who is described on the ADK website as "a creative, action-oriented real estate professional, deal maker and attorney." Salerno is also part of the management team for the Texas-based Mayfair Management Group.
Salerno told the Council they had "tweaked" their plans "based on feedback from some community leaders." The only one he actually mentioned was Council president Tom DePietro. One of the tweaks suggested by DePietro was creating space for a daycare center somewhere in the building. That seems an odd fit since Salerno explained the proposed development was meant to be for residents aged 50 and older, in the income band between 40 and 80 percent of the AMI (area mean income).
When this project was first talked about, DePietro suggested that, although the developer would not be seeking a PILOT, zoning changes would be needed to allow them to add floors to the existing building. The plan of adding floors has now been abandoned in favor of constructing a new five-story building at the west end of the existing building. The renderings below, presented at the Council meeting last night, show that building. The first two show the building as seen from Carroll Street; the third shows the view from State Street; and the final rendering shows the proposed building in the context of the original school building and the historic Hudson Almshouse at 400 State Street.
Salerno told the Council that ADK was paying "a very high price for this [property]." (The HCSD Board of Education agreed in March to sell the property to ADK for $3 million. Full market value of the building, which sits on 5.3 acres, had been set at $6.3 million.) Salerno went on to say, "Unless we can get more units, [the high price] renders the project not feasible." He dismissed the idea of demolishing the old school building, explaining that it had been very sturdily built, although apparently not sturdily enough to support additional floors, and it would cost "millions and millions of dollars to demo it and cart it away."
This, of course, raises the question of how many millions it will cost to demolish Bliss Towers and cart it away.
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