The Mount Kisco Board of Trustees has approved a site access license agreement with the developer of Kirby Commons, a two-building, mixed-use project proposed for two village-owned parking lots adjacent to the Mount Kisco Metro-North Railroad station.
The agreement allows the developer to get onto the North Moger and South Moger lots for up to six months of due diligence work.
Gotham Property Acquisitions LLC of New York City and Charter Realty and Development Corp. of Greenwich, Connecticut, have joined forces as the village’s designated developer for the project. The proposal calls for 217 apartments, approximately 51,600 square feet of retail space, 3,100 square feet of community space and 890 parking spaces.
A preliminary plan calls for the building on the South Moger parking lot, closest to the train station, to be four stories and have a mix of one-bedroom, one-bedroom with den, two-bedroom and two-bedroom with den apartments. It would have 113 apartments, 38,000 square feet of retail and 368 parking spaces.
Rentals are estimated to start at $2,667 for a one-bedroom with a two-bedroom with den going for $4,355 a month. The one-bedroom apartments would be 800 square feet. The two-bedroom with den apartments would be 1,340 square feet.
The building on the North Moger parking lot would be five stories tall. There would be 104 apartments, 13,600 square feet of retail, a 3,100-square-foot community facility and 522 parking spaces. It would include studio apartments and one- and two-bedroom units that are slightly smaller than the ones in the South Moger building.
Studios would start at $1,880 a month, one-bedrooms would be $2,503 and two-bedrooms would rent for $3,160. Both buildings would offer an assortment of amenities.
The vote on the access license was 4-1 with Trustee Karen Schleimer casting the dissenting vote during the Jan. 6 board meeting. Schleimer expressed concern that the license agreement failed to include a requirement for the developer to post a bond. She recalled a problem with another developer in the past who knocked down trees and walls at a site.
“We had substantial damage and we had substantial issues and, not withstanding the fact that the developer there and likewise here has assets, go chase them. It’s much easier to go against a bond,” she said. “I understand their reluctance to post anything. You know, there are some structures, some electric. It’s not the woods, so I think the potential for damage is not insignificant.”
Mount Kisco Mayor Gina Picinich responded, “I would propose that we are building a partnership and a relationship with these folks. If they are unable to do soil borings in the way that we need for them to do and are not honest and trustworthy in this process, then that’s going to kind of blow up the whole thing.”
When explaining why the license agreement was needed to allow the developer to get onto the village-owned parking lots, Picinich said, “Our partners need to get on the site and start doing their due diligence. So they’ll have to check out the soil, maybe do some borings. They’ll have to do an environmental evaluation, a Phase I, maybe a Phase II, to determine what is there as they start to take a look at the engineering that will form their further planning and be able to put all the parts and pieces together and start putting together the actual plans, review, documents and pieces that they can, then bring them to our planning board.”
Town Attorney Whitney Singleton told the trustees that the developer had accepted most of the conditions that Schleimer wanted included in the license agreement, especially regarding returning the property to the condition in which they found it.
“We nuanced the language a little bit because it’s impossible to return it to exactly the same condition and so we used language that they would use commercially,” he said.
David Picket, a resident of Harrison, is president and CEO of the Gotham Organization, an outgrowth of the Gotham Construction Co. started in 1912 by Nathan Picket.
“I represent the fourth generation working in the business,” he told the board of trustees during a previous session at which time he introduced his son, Matthew, who represents the fifth generation of family in the business. Although the company has built numerous projects in New York City, Picket emphasized his ties to Westchester, including having grown up in Scarsdale.
Picket pointed out that the founder of Charter Realty and Development, Paul Brandes, lived near him in Harrison for many years before moving to Greenwich.
“Our children grew up together. We’re very much involved in what goes on in Westchester,” Picket said.
Architect Richard Metsky of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP of New York City showed some renderings to the trustees and pointed out that the development will improve stormwater runoff conditions in the area because they’ll be eliminating parking lot surfaces that are 100% impervious. He said the transit-oriented development being proposed would invigorate downtown Mount Kisco.
Picket anticipates parking will come up frequently as the plans are developed.
“We understand the importance to the community of maintaining the commuter parking. We understand the importance to the community of making sure there’s enough parking so that people can go to the restaurants and do their shopping and have the retail experience that is required,” he said.
“It’s an extraordinary offering that doesn’t exist across northern Westchester and it doesn’t exist in Mount Kisco, so it’s a unique opportunity for housing and it’s a unique opportunity to fill a hole that really needs filling in our community in northern Westchester,” Picinich said.