Haverstraw Issues RFEI to Developers For Long-Vacant Waterfront Parcel

John Jordan | September 2020

HAVERSTRAW—The Village of Haverstraw is taking a significant step in developing a long vacant and underutilized downtown waterfront parcel with the issuance of a Request for Expressions of Interest to development firms. The village, which issued the RFEI today, is hoping to find a developer that will embrace its vision of developing a mixed-use project there that could include a hotel/conference center, retail space, residential housing and some office space.

The more than nine-acre village-owned parcel includes the former Chair Factory and Damiani Properties sites. The village has previously retained engineering and environmental planning firm Barton & Loguidice, which issued recommendations in a “concept plan” on the parcel. The plan included input from its citizenry on the future use of the properties that are located adjacent to Ginsburg Development’s Harbors at Haverstraw community.

The combined Chair Factory-Damiani Properties parcel sits on a peninsula at the foot of Main Street at the widest point of the Hudson River and features views of High Tor Mountain, Westchester County and Bowline Point Park. The village recently completed a $5-million revitalization of its downtown district.

Haverstraw Mayor Michael F. Kohut said, “Haverstraw is in the midst of a revitalization. The village looks forward to serving as a robust and committed partner for this important development. We are interested in developers of all sizes who want to be part of an innovative and unique project on the Hudson River. We welcome all developers with vision and integrity.”

The village in the RFEI stated that it its hopeful that the development plan would “expand the existing downtown to the waterfront without dramatically changing the character of the community while creating a balance of ‘revenue positive’ development and waterfront public amenities and open space.”

The previously completed concept plan released several years ago “envisioned an expanded village layout, comprised of a hotel and conference/banquet facility and pedestrian square at one end, a narrow street extending the length of the project, structured to encourage pedestrian flow, flanked by two-story buildings comprised of ground floor retail with second floor office/residential.” The concept plan also included a boat house and kayak launch pier at the far end of the project that would allow for integration with Bowline Pond. The entire project would be wrapped by a greenway along the Hudson River shoreline.

The site is located in the Waterfront Development (WD) District and more than likely the proposed development would require a special permit. Current uses permitted by right include: boat hauling, launching, mooring, dry storage, and dry facilities; public and private recreational facilities; fishing piers; docking facilities for tour boats and similar passenger vehicles; maritime centers; trails and facilities for the sale/rental of boats. Uses permitted by Special Permit include: marinas and related uses; multiple dwellings (in accordance with the standards of the PRD District); restaurants; businesses; light industrial uses; public utility structures and rights-of-way.

The mayor said the village would limit the residential component of any development on the property to no more than 200 units. A hotel would be welcome since there is no hotel in North Rockland County, he noted.

The village acquired the property in early 2008 in condemnation proceedings for $2.14 million. Ginsburg Development had been in negotiations with the village to acquire the property and develop condominiums, a parking garage to serve the relocated Haverstraw to Ossining ferry, retail and other uses. However, when the recession hit later that year, Ginsburg ended property acquisition talks with the village, according to Mayor Kohut. The village has hired New York City consulting firm Integritas to assist the village in the RFEI/RFP process.

Mayor Kohut noted that Ginsburg Development Principal Martin Ginsburg is still interested in developing the Chair Factory property, but noted that the village decided rather than to hold discussions solely with GDC it would issue the RFEI to other developers as well.

Ginsburg is completing the final (rental) units at the Harbors at Haverstraw and will be moving forward with development of a parcel that is adjacent to both Harbors and the Chair Factory site, the mayor added.

The mayor said the eventual structure of a deal with a proposer could be in the form of a property sale, a lease, or a partnership venture with the village.

The village listed nine principals it would like respondents proposals to be in conformance with: Principal 1: Maintain Continuous Public Water; Access; Principal 2: Mirror Scale and Pattern of Village Downtown (No Glass and Steel Buildings); Principal 3: Provide an Anchor Use for Downtown that Attracts Economic Activity Year-Round; Principal 4: Interconnect to Village Road System; Principal 5: Provide Central Public Gathering Space; Principal 6: Construct Above Future Projected Flood Elevations; Principal 7: Respect View Corridors from Downtown and Existing Neighborhoods(Height Limits); Principal 8: Maximum of 200 Housing Units and Principal 9: Mixed Use – Ideally Commercial, Retail, Entertainment & Residential.

Responses to the RFEI will be due on Jan. 22, 2021. An optional information session will be held on Dec.10, 2020. The RFEI is available for download at https:/voh-ny.com/rfei-chair-factory-property (or may be picked up in-person pick-up between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, from the Village of Haverstraw, Office of the Village Clerk, Municipal Building, 40 New Main St., Haverstraw, NY 10927).

The mayor said that after the village reviews the submissions, it would likely issue a Request for Proposals sometime in the spring of 2021 and select a winning proposer by sometime over the summer of 2021. The plan would then have to go before the village for approvals.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth