Thursday, March 14, 2024

Promises, Promises . . .

A listing on Zillow posted on a Facebook community board this morning raised quite a stir. It was for a one-bedroom apartment at 356 Union Street. The rent for the unit is $2,300 a month.

Photo: Zillow
What is most interesting to Gossips about this apartment in the mansion that was originally the home of Dr. H. Lyle Smith, one of Hudson's luminaries in the decades following the Civil War, is not what many would consider the exorbitant rent but the building's recent history with the Galvan Foundation and its many iterations.

Galvan acquired the building in July 2004. At that time, the building had been carved up into a rabbit warren of apartments. It is not known how many people lived there, but after Galvan acquired it, the building was emptied of tenants and would remain so for almost two decades. In 2012, ownership of the building was transferred from Galvan Partners to Galvan Initiatives Foundation, and in 2018, ownership was transferred to Galvan Civic Housing LLC.

In May 2017, at an Affordable Housing Hudson forum, Jason O'Toole, then a Galvan Foundation factotum, announced Galvan's commitment to creating 20 to 25 new units of affordable housing in the next three years. The units would be for families with incomes from 50 to 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), which at the time was $74,900. The next year, in March 2018, O'Toole increased the number of apartments to 29. Each time, seven two-bedroom units at 356 Union Street were part of the commitment. The following list of promised Galvan units is from Hudson's 2018 Strategic Housing Action Plan:

The first sign of any progress toward restoring the building came in March 2012 (eight years after Galvan acquired it), when the pinkish asphalt shingles that had been on the house were removed to reveal the original clapboard.

After the shingles were removed, another six years passed before any further work on the house was undertaken. 

In July 2019, when Gossips did an update on the 29 apartments Galvan had committed to providing, Dan Kent, then as now the spokesperson for Galvan, said they expected the restoration of 356 Union Street to be completed by the fall of 2019.

It is not clear exactly when the restoration was completed, but in November 2020, the house was on the market for $1.25 million. There were not seven two-bedroom apartments, as Galvan had promised, but only five apartments. And, of course, the new owner would be under no obligation to make them affordable.

According to tax records, the building was sold in March 2021 for $1.1 million. Since then, the apartments have been rented, but one of them
will be available starting April 1

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