Westchester grabs $12 million in state funds toward development projects

By Ryan Deffenbaugh

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About $83 million in state money has been awarded to 105 development projects in the mid-Hudson Valley region, including $12 million to public and private-sector projects in Westchester County, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in Albany on Dec. 8.

The grant money was awarded in the latest round of funding in the state’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative, a competitive program among 10 regions of the state launched by Cuomo at the start of his administration to spur jobs creation and economic development. State agencies in this sixth application round approved more than $700 million for capital projects statewide.

The 21-member Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council represents Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan counties. The council was designated a “Top Performer” in this round of funding. Five regions judged top performers each received about $80 million in state funds, while the remaining five regions received about $60 million. Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region and New York City were the other regions to receive the top designation.

Last year, the Mid-Hudson council received $90.4 million supporting 109 projects. In 2014, $82.8 million went to 118 projects in the region. In total, the region has received $475.9 million for 574 projects, out of more than $4.6 billion the state has awarded over six years.

Two projects in downtown Yonkers will receive about $4.4 million in state funds.

The city was awarded $2.4 million for the $13.5-million fourth phase of its ongoing work to uncover or “daylight” segments of the Saw Mill River in its course through the city’s downtown to its Hudson River waterfront. Yonkers officials have said the award will help unearth the river at Chicken Island near Getty Square, where a  5-acre site is targeted for redevelopment that could include a new government center.

The Armory Foundation, a Manhattan nonprofit, was awarded $2 million for an indoor sports and event center proposed to be built on the roof of the Kawasaki Rail Car factory building at 29 Wells Ave. The $15 million project would add 137,000 square feet of recreational space, including an indoor track and field area, space for basketball and wrestling, a gym, fitness studios, classroom, a restaurant and a convention center.

Developers expect the project to generate $1 million in tourism spending and attract 100,000 visitors per year, according to the mid-Hudson council’s 2016 progress report.

The Armory Foundation manages New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, which annually hosts more than 100 track and field competitions for more than 125,000 athletes and 500,000 visitors.

“We are confident this state-of-the-art facility will be invaluable to Yonkers and all Hudson Valley residents, significantly benefiting student-athletes, while encouraging recreational use and tourism and creating quality new jobs,” Norbert Sander, president of the Armory Foundation, said in a press release.

“The Yonkers Sports & Event Center and the Saw Mill River daylighting are transformational projects for Westchester County,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “The state funding acknowledges that Yonkers is innovative and multidimensional in its approach to economic development.”

Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester and a member of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s Executive Committee, said the Mid-Hudson region was the “big winner” and highlighted the Yonkers sports center.

“This project, which is being developed by Joe Cotter of National Resources, will further transform the city’s downtown,” Gordon said in a statement following the awards.

Elsewhere in the region, the Legoland development project in Goshen received $3 million from the state to help United Kingdom-based Merlin Entertainments construct a $500- million, 153-acre theme park. The project in Orange County is still under review by town officials.

Other major projects in the region receiving awards:

• Star Kay White Inc., based in Congers, will receive a $2.25 million grant toward a new manufacturing facility in the Warwick Valley Office and Technology Park in Orange County and $350,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for the expansion. 

• In Putnam County, the village of Brewster will receive a $2 million grant for a project to reconstruct part of  the village’s main corridor and an abandoned elementary school.

• In Dutchess County, Poughkeepsie Waterfront Development LLC will receive $2 million for its proposed $18 million redevelopment of a 14-acre parcel on the city’s southern waterfront. The plan calls for expansion of the city’s marina; a high-end marina club with a restaurant and pool; an 80,000-square-foot mixed-use building with a spa, tourism shops and 35 luxury apartments, and two open green spaces.

• Historic Hudson River Towns, a nonprofit municipal consortium based in Westchester, will receive a $500,000 grant toward its project to create the Sing Sing Prison Museum. The museum would be housed in the 1936 Prison Power House with access to the original 1825 cellblock.

• The developer of Bellefield at Hyde Park in Dutchess County was awarded a $2 million grant toward the second phase of a $23-million redevelopment project of the park opposite the Culinary Institute of America campus. Second-phase construction will include a 10,000-square-foot restaurant, 15,000-square-foot spa and 48,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of a 40-unit, market-rate rental apartment building. The project is led by T-Rex Capital Group LLC, headquartered in Stamford.

• Touro College of Dental Medicine, which opened this year in Valhalla, was awarded $750,000.

• Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie was awarded $2.5 million for the second phase of its $500 million patient pavilion construction project.  The new pavilion will replace the hospital’s semi-private medical and surgical rooms with 264 private rooms and include 30 ICU rooms, a new emergency department and new operating rooms and interventional suites.

 

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About the author

Ryan Deffenbaugh covers energy, education, food and beverage and the Sound Shore for the Westchester County Business Journal. He previously worked for Westchester Magazine and The Citizen daily newspaper (Auburn, N.Y.). He started with the Westchester County Business Journal in March 2016.

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