This morning, the Hudson Industrial Development Agency (IDA) announced it would be holding a special meeting "for the purpose of discussing the PBF Hudson LLC project" on Wednesday, December 15, at 2:00 p.m.
requests presented at the public hearing by the group calling itself the Community Benefits Alliance of Hudson. The written response, which addresses each ask made by the group, begins with this statement from Sean Roland and Gabriel Katz, the principals in the project:
Thank you for your letter, and for taking the time to share your concerns and asks of us at Pocketbook Hudson. Given our goal is to restore Pocketbook and transform it into a vibrant and inclusive space that creates positive social and economic impacts, we are very much looking forward to continuing a dialog with this group, in addition to the many ongoing conversations that we as locals are also having with area residents, community and business leaders, and elected officials.
In the spirit of openness, we have responded to each item addressed in the letter below, providing answers, context and highlighting potential areas for collaboration. Several of the requests have already been addressed by the City of Hudson Planning Board, while others are outside the scope of the IDA’s authority as the criteria for evaluating IDA applications are limited in scope and clearly defined by state law. For some of those items we have noted that we are open to continuing the conversation as members of the greater community who do want to work together collaboratively to find viable solutions.
The letter goes on to respond to every ask. Most of the responses were positive, often referring to the conditions already imposed in the Planning Board approval. A couple of responses are of interest.
Ask: Provide indoor or grounded covered outdoor space to campers at Oakdale in the event of avoiding a rain cancellation.
Response: It is not feasible for us to provide “rain day” space for summer day or overnight campers due to logistics and liability considerations. However, in addition to provi[di]ng access for passive daytime recreational use of the courtyard, there will be flexible space available for local organizations to schedule in advance to book and utilize the “garden room” which will be a multi-purpose educational space on the ground floor.
Ask: 10% of income from hotel and restaurant goes towards the Hudson Housing Trust Fund
Response: It is not a realistic ask given that 10% of income is likely equal to or above the entire net operating income for the project, which would make it economically not feasible. We are investigating alternate methods that we can support the Hudson Housing Trust Fund. For example, the placement of a small percentage surcharge on guests’ checks, which could then go towards the fund. In addition, the project is estimated to generate over $100,000 a year from the 4% Hotel Occupancy tax, and with the lobbying efforts of constituents, the City Council could choose to allocate a portion of the revenue to housing or other identified needs.
Tucker told the IDA that he was setting up a meeting with the applicant and members of the "alliance."
They then reviewed the criteria the IDA must use to make its decision about the project. These seven criteria apply to all categories of projects. (The relevant project information in provided in parentheses.)
- Extent to which a project will create or retain jobs (65 construction jobs; 63 direct hires)
- Estimated value of tax exemptions (calculated at just over $1.3 million, an amount that is shared with Columbia County and Hudson City School District)
- Amount of private sector investment ($25 million)
- Likelihood of project being accomplished in a timely fashion (completion is expected in 2024)
- Extent of new revenue provided to local taxing jurisdictions (anticipated property tax revenue over next 10 years with no development is $292,000; tax revenue under proposed PILOT is $1 million)
- Any additional public benefits
- Extend to which a project will provide local labor construction jobs.
There are nine additional criteria to the considered for commercial projects:
- Regional wealth creation (% of sales/customers outside of the City)
- Located in a highly distressed census tract
- Alignment with local planning and development efforts
- Promotes walkable community areas
- Elimination or reduction of blight
- Proximity/support of regional tourism attractions/facilities
- City official support
- Building or site has historic designation
- Provides brownfield remediation
The IDA is likely to vote on approving the PBF Hudson project at the special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 15, at 2:00 p.m.
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