Hopeful news has recently been announced for two potentially huge projects for the City of Newburgh in two adjacent empty lots. Both of them are located at the same intersection of Liberty Street and Broadway. Monday the City Council voted to approve support for a project from Safe Harbors of the Hudson and, for another project mentioned a few months ago from Andy Cavaluzzi. Together, the two projects represent a $20 million investment in downtown Newburgh.
Safe Harbors of the Hudson is a non-profit organization that currently offers housing to single tenants in the renovated Cornerstone Building that was once the dilapidated Hotel Newburgh. They continually received calls for family housing, but sadly had to turn people away. Now, plans for the “Liberty House” are underway. It will have 68 units, and commercial space. They plan to use the same architects that were used for the Cornerstone Building.
The other project, “City Center” at 91-95 Broadway was first introduced last Spring. Modifications have been made from what was initially drawn up. Instead of 20 rentals there will be 15, and instead of 5 floors, there will be 4. There will be 3,500 square feet of retail space, for a total of 24,000 square feet of mixed use space. The project will be built on a blighted parcel of land that has sat vacant for 30+ years. It was once the location of the well known Fanny Farmer Candy Shop.
Details for City Center include nine on-grade off-street parking spaces, elevator, sprinkler system, centrally monitored fire alarm, and onsite tenant laundry facilities. The mixed use project incorporates green technologies (potentially solar panels and a living roof) and energy efficient building practices in coordination with NYSERDA. The appearance of the structure has been ARC approved and will be consistent with the historic district including aesthetically pleasing building details such as a brick veneer and oversized windows.
Now comes the hard part of getting funding to make these projects a reality. When all of these projects are completed, Eastern Broadway will have a totally updated look.
Not so fast! New development is good, yes. But this is not new jobs. Both these projects will only happen with Federal and State grants and tax credits. Additionally, both projects are proposing 32- and 40-year PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) which means they will also be subsidized by the over-stressed, over-taxed City of Newburgh taxpayers. Who will these people be who live in them? As Safe Harbors states, families. Families who have kids in school, use our services (fire, police, sanitation, water, sewer) and will need to park their cars. 83 units paying miniscule tax rates and no parking provided within these projects. There’s already an overburdened parking situation that will grow gradually worse as the college becomes fully operational. OCCC has only provided 300 parking spaces, when they expect a student body of 3600 students. Who would drive into this situation? Who would want to live here? Who would want to do business here? This is poor planning all around.