Broadway development planned
That long-vacant lot in the middle of Broadway in the City of Newburgh might soon be home to more than a neatly planted row of trees.
At their meeting on Tuesday, May 29, the Newburgh City Council approved a resolution for City Manager Richard Herbek to begin negotiations with the development company Mill Street Partners, Community Preservation Corporation – a not for profit lender, and Regional Economic Community Action Program, also known as RECAP.
The developer’s preliminary plans for the Mid-Broadway site call for a mixed use building with retail space, possibly a supermarket, on the first floor. According to Mary Paden, vice president of Community Preservation Corporation, the remaining floors would house 56 residential units. The estimated total cost for the plan, said Paden, is $17 million.
“That’s what’s been communicated to me by the developers,” she said. “It’s pretty rough numbers at this point.”
“The numbers could change.”
According to Paden, CPC has invested in more than $21 million in Newburgh by financing 359 residential units. They have also financed retail structures in the area.
The second phase of the project would add a baker’s dozen of two-family homes on Johnson St. It is unclear whether plans call for using preexisting homes or building new ones.
The Mid-Broadway site, weighing in at 1.8 acres, was taken over by the city when the former owner defaulted on taxes. The lot remained vacant and overgrown until the Greater Newburgh Partnership cleaned the site late last year.
According to Herbek, last summer the previous City Council heard proposals for the lot, including one by Mill Street Partners, but took no action at that time. Last month, the developers were invited back by the current council to take another crack at the Mid-Broadway site. There were a total of six presentations.
The council unanimously approved a resolution which starts the negotiation process with Mill Street Partners, “which may lead to what is known as a land development agreement,” said Herbek.
Representatives of Mill Street Partners suggested a supermarket in the retail space of their proposed mixed use building. That idea might be appealing to city residents, Herbek said.
“I know that there has been interest a [supermarket]. I don’t think it would be a Super Stop & Shop or anything along those lines,” he said. “Some type of a grocery store is something there seems to be an interest in the community. We also would like to see some retail thrown into the mix.”
But Herbek pointed out that no plans have been finalized.
“None of that has been entirely nailed down,” said Herbek.
Paden added, “[The plans] have to go through the planning board and all of its approvals. It would also have to get all of its funding approvals.
“I’m only… one piece of the funding puzzle.”
In any event, Herbek said the time has come to develop the Broadway
“We definitely need to do something with that Mid-Broadway site,” he said.
Mayor Judy Kennedy echoed Herbek’s sentiment about utilizing the Mid-Broadway site.
“I 100 percent support developing the plot of land and creating some mixed use development in it,” she said. “I’m not married to a supermarket; I would entertain any kind of commercial area, a medical building, whatever. So I’m going to stay open to whatever is going to really be a viable business opportunity in that area.”
The mayor said ultimately it’s the developer that will make the final decision as to what kind of business the building will house. Whatever that retail turns out to be – supermarket or otherwise – Kennedy will likely welcome it, she said.
“What we want to do is really build up our businesses in the lower Broadway area,” she said. “I think Newburgh is on the move. We’re inviting lots of businesses; Newburgh is open for business.
“All of our boards, the Planning Board, the Zoning Board, the Architectural Review Commission and the Codes Department, are streamlining their process; this is to make it easier for businesses and homeowners to do business in the City of Newburgh and do development, and make it easier for our land use plan. So I’m excited about the big changes that are coming to make it easier to move forward in the City of Newburgh.”
Michael Gabor, a Newburgh business owner and city resident, said that in the 1990s, there was a supermarket located on Broadway that ultimately failed. Gabor said that the market was “heavily subsidized” and he doubts a new supermarket would receive the same treatment in the current economy.
In terms of retail space, Gabor added that there are many vacant buildings throughout Newburgh that would be suitable for a business, like the former CVS building near the Armory.
“Why would you go through the expense of building a new building instead of taking existing space?” he said. “What about the old courthouse? What about the Dutch Reformed Church? It sounds ridiculous, but these are huge spaces. I don’t understand why you’d go to the expense of building something new when there are things that are existing that need help.”
By Matt Frey