Update: Orange County Extends Bidding Again for Camp LaGuardia; Marketing Property to Firms Looking to ‘Escape’ NYC

John Jordan | August 2020

Photo Caption: Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus looks over a map of the Camp LaGuardia property. FILE PHOTO

GOSHEN—In an attempt to take advantage of real estate and business market trends in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Orange County has decided to market more than 250 acres of land adjacent to Route 17 to New York City businesses looking to relocate out of Manhattan.

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus recently told Real Estate In-Depth that the county had extended a Request for Proposals from developers and investors to acquire the nearly 260-acre former Camp LaGuardia property in Blooming Grove and Chester. The original RFP deadline for proposals was Aug. 7. The submittal date was extended originally to Sept. 10, but has since been extended until Oct. 8 at 4 p.m., Real Estate In-Depth has learned.  All site visits must be completed, and questions submitted by Sept. 25.

The marketing campaign to sell Camp LaGuardia includes an ad in the Wall Street Journal with an “Escape from New York” theme. The Orange County Industrial Development Agency has provided the county with $25,000 for marketing and advertising the Camp LaGuardia site as the county continues to seek proposals.

“These sites are perfect for commercial development and will provide economic development as well as job opportunities for Orange County residents,” Neuhaus said. “I’m pleased that the county is moving forward to put these properties back on the tax rolls and to productive use, which will be a benefit to not just the county, but also to the City of Newburgh and the Towns of Chester and Blooming Grove.”

“Camp LaGuardia is close to the Heritage Trail and to Route 17, and can become a terrific opportunity for economic growth,” said Orange County Legislator John Vero, who represents Chester. “We need proposals which generate long-term revenue for the county and are compatible with local land use needs. Hopefully, multiple entities can demonstrate some interest in this property.”

The County Legislature voted to acquire Camp LaGuardia, a homeless shelter for New York City residents, in 2007.

The county attempted to have the Camp LaGuardia property redeveloped and retained Mountco Construction of Scarsdale as the developer, but in 2016 spent approximately $1.3 million to terminate the deal with Mountco, which had proposed a $300-million mixed-use development on the property but failed to secure approvals from affected municipalities to allow the project to break ground.

The Camp LaGuardia property features four parcels totaling 258.3 acres including a 153.5-acre parcel in the Town of Chester; a 40.8-acre parcel in the Town of Chester; a 59.6-acre parcel in the Town of Blooming Grove and a 4.4-acre parcel in the Village of Chester.

Orange County has also received two proposals to acquire multiple county-owned buildings on Grand Street in Newburgh, that were also offered through an RFP.

The county acquired the Grand Street Properties in December 2013. The properties include a former YMCA, Masonic Temple and American Legion buildings. The county acquired the Newburgh properties in the hopes of expanding SUNY Orange’s services to those properties.

Boutique hotel and restaurant firm Foster Supply Hospitality of Youngsville, NY has offered Orange County $1 million in cash for the three Grand Street buildings in Newburgh with plans to develop a mixed-use project at the site. According to the firm’s RFP, it intends to develop an 80-room hotel, 20,000 square feet of meeting/event space and a 100-seat restaurant at the three properties.

The project, which has been estimated to cost approximately $20 million, would require a zone change. Foster Supply stated in the RFP that it expects the engineering and zoning approval process to take six to nine months once it has taken control of the site. Construction would take between 14 months to 18 months. It expects to have the hotel open for guests in mid-2022.

Somers-based Kearney Realty and Development Group has also submitted a bid of $250,000 to develop the “Grand Street Revival” that would consist of 60 loft-style apartments, two retail storefronts and one 3,000-square-foot restaurant.

The Orange County Legislature will select the developers who will buy some or all the properties. The RFP for Camp LaGuardia can be found at: https://www.orangecountygov.com/1968/RFP-Sale-of-former-Camp-LaGuardia-Proper.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth