The North Castle Town Board is expected to again take up an application to build a hotel and townhomes in a project known as Eagle Ridge on a portion of the property formerly owned by IBM in Armonk when it next meets on June 9.
The upcoming action follows a review of the project during the board’s May 26 meeting. Most of the residents who spoke supported the development.
According to a letter to the town from Robin Bauerle, director of operations for IBM’s Real Estate Strategy & Operations sector that was written March 12, 2018, IBM conveyed to developer Maddd Madonna Armonk LLC an approximately 32-acre parcel known as Lot A-4 that abuts North Castle Drive, Route 22 and a town recreation area. IBM’s world headquarters is at 1 North Castle Drive.
At the time, Bauerle referenced a conceptual plan to build townhouses and a hotel/apartment structure. “We support this plan and request that the Board of the Town of North Castle act favorably on the applications,” Bauerle wrote.
The original submission has been modified slightly and now asks for approvals to build a 115-room hotel with a 135-seat restaurant, 45-seat bar and meeting space for about 100 people along with 72 townhomes that would be age-restricted to those 55 and older.
According to Mount Kisco-based attorney Kory Salomone, who is representing the developer, the property is in the Office Business Hotel zoning district.
The developer is seeking amendments to the North Castle zoning code for the hotel portion of the project and is asking that the Residential Multi-Family Senior Citizen Housing floating zone be placed on 21.8 acres of the property where the townhomes would be built.
The North Castle Planning Board reacted favorably to the application in April when Adam Kaufman, director of planning for the town, wrote the planning board recommends adoption of the zoning changes and noted that the proposal is supported by the town’s comprehensive plan.
At the town board meeting, Andrew Solow, a 12-year resident of North Castle, supported the project. “This property has age restrictions that is certainly beneficial to the town. It’s not going to overcrowd the schools,” Solow said. “It’s not going to impact negatively in terms of taxes. The location is also perfect. You are located right in a former business park that is built on the main intersection in Armonk, right behind town hall. “
Kara Schissler, a 10-year resident of Armonk, expressed a belief that in the future Armonk would benefit from work and lifestyle changes brought about by the Covid pandemic.
“The way I see the residential market going is that it’s not just a Covid bump. I think work from home may be here to stay and so people previously who may have stopped at Scarsdale because they’re afraid of the long commute five days a week may consider Armonk as a more attractive community if they only have to commute infrequently,” Schissler said. “I think the demand for housing here is going to continue to increase.”
Another 10-year resident of Armonk, Scott Anchin, said, “Our community is going to benefit from the development of townhouses for people over the age of 55. It’s going to help maintain the character and dynamic of our community. It’s going to provide a much-needed economic benefit for our town. We need to bring in new people, hotel guests, to directly help the shop owners, small businesses and restaurants.”
The developer, Frank Madonna, faced some criticism from both residents and town board members for supposedly not maintaining a display of balloons at the site that provide a visual display of where various elements of the project would be constructed and the heights of those structures. Madonna and attorney Salomone explained that they were doing their best to keep the balloons on display but they’ve been affected by weather, heat and humidity. “We do what we’re being asked to do,” Salomone said.
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