Withstanding the sweltering heat on Tuesday, Ginsburg Development Cos. joined a number of government officials to celebrate the company’s groundbreaking on a $64.5 million mixed-use development in Peekskill.
“I do believe that this is a city that’s time has come,” said Martin Ginsburg, principal of the Valhalla-based development company. “You can see things happening here and I think what we’re doing here is going to make it a major attraction.”
The sprawling development, called Fort Hill, is being built on the site of a former convent and Revolutionary War lookout in Peekskill. The project will include rental apartments, a hotel and a restaurant.
Ginsburg Development acquired the property in 2003 and, after numerous development plans fell through over the next decade, rekindled the project at the urging of Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina and presented plans to Peekskill city officials in 2015.
“At this point, I really do think we’ve arrived at a tremendous solution,” Ginsburg said of his plans for the property. “I really think we came up with a really tremendous design here.”
Foundation work has begun on the 178-unit luxury rental apartment complex, Fort Hill Apartments at the Abbey Inn, which will be clustered in three five-story buildings on Chateau Rive and John streets.
According to Ginsburg, the apartment buildings will complement the existing stone and brick structures and include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, some of which will offer views of the city of Peekskill and the Hudson River. The complex’s amenities will include a fitness center, club room and swimming pool.
The project will also include the construction of 20 rental townhomes along Main Street between Spring and Hadden streets.
Ginsburg also plans to develop the Abbey Inn, a 42-room hotel, event space and eatery in the former St. Mary’s Chapel building on the site. The chapel dates to the late 19th century and was home to the Episcopal Community of St. Mary until 2003.
The company is in negotiations with a number of prospective restaurateurs, and Ginsburg Development plans to bring in an outside management company to operate the hotel.
“It’s going to be a huge financial benefit, cultural benefit and really a shot in the arm for the Peekskill city finances and the city in general, bringing new people here to live,” said former Peekskill mayor and county Legislator John G. Testa.
The site surrounding the planned development in the Revolutionary War was a Continental Army lookout post that was attacked and occupied by a British military expedition in 1777. In 1929, Peekskill bought the property for Fort Hill Park, a 10-acre site commemorating that battle.
As part of the development plans, Ginsburg will donate 52 acres of parkland to the city, which will expand the public park to 62 acres. The property will feature a variety of existing and new hiking trails, a public park and an observation deck.
Construction could take about a year to complete, according to Ginsburg. The developer expects to begin leasing at Fort Hill Apartments next spring.