by Robert Kimmel
A year’s work lies ahead before the first vertical structure is erected as part of Edge-On-Hudson, the new development along the river in Sleepy Hollow; however, the official Groundbreaking Ceremony May 18 at 11 a.m., with village and county officials attending along with the developers from Lighthouse Landing LLC, will symbolize its start.
The 67-acre mixed-use development, which some hail as a renaissance for the village, will add an estimated 3,000 people to Sleepy Hollow’s population of 10,000. Another signal of its beginning is a bridge being built on Beekman Avenue over the Metro North railroad tracks. The temporary bridge will allow heavy truck loads of construction material and ground fill to be hauled on to the former GM site.
Preparing the foundation for the development’s construction includes bringing in 250,000 cubic yards of fill to raise the grade level of the site from three to six feet in some areas, according to Peter Johnson, who heads the project. Moves are underway to avoid bringing it all in through village streets. Johnson noted that while the GM facilities were built on artificial fill along the river, “…the material was never properly compacted…and there is ground improvement that has to happen. We want to be sure that when we install sewer lines and streets that those streets don’t settle.”
“We have about a year of demolition and grading up, and ground settlement before we begin vertical construction,” Johnson related. The initial construction, “phase one” of the development, is comprised of 306 housing units, and includes 61 affordable rental units, with 40 of those designated for seniors. The affordable units were required within the special permit issued by the village permitting the sale of the site by GM. “We are still working out with the village as to what the tests for affordability will be,” Johnson said, adding that “it will be somewhat up to the village.”
Ultimately, the development will have a mix of apartments, town houses and condos among the 1,177 residences to be built, along with a 140-room hotel, 135,000 square feet of retail space, 30,000 square feet of office space and a 16-acre park. “Depending on market forces during the next few years, we are expecting a six to eight year build out,” Johnson said.
During the three months of construction of the temporary bridge, Johnson noted that a portion of Beekman Avenue is being restricted to one lane of traffic, “the length of the bridge, plus a couple of hundred feet on each side.” Signals will facilitate the traffic flow. “One of the things we are committed to pursuing is finding ways to deliver the fill material to the site not by road,” Johnson stated. Otherwise, he explained it would be “…18,000 truckloads coming down Beekman. Our preference is to mitigate that to whatever extent we can. One of the reasons we are building the temporary bridge, was to avoid bringing those trucks through Tarrytown. The existing bridge isn’t strong enough to support those trucks.”
The developer had looked into bringing in fill from the debris of the existing Tappan Zee bridge when it is demolished. That could amount to “…as much as about 40% of the fill that we need,” Johnson estimated. “It could come in by barge.” However, he continued, “The big issue with that is timing. They are not expected to begin that demolition until November of 2017. If we are in a position of still needing fill then, we could take it up at that time.”
“We are also exploring other barge opportunities that would eliminate another 30 to 40 percent of our fill needs,” said Johnson. “We are making that a priority, because we recognize that construction can be a somewhat messy process. That is an area we can focus on and we hope we can find a source of material that can come by barge rather than bring trucks through the village.”
“Given the fact that this is a six to eight-year project, we recognize that we’re going to be neighbors for a long time, and we are going to be part of the community for that length of time,” Johnson noted. “We are committed to doing the best we can to support the community, because we believe the more successful Sleepy Hollow is through those years, the more successful our project will be.”
Johnson’s firm, Sun Cal, teamed up with Diversified Realty Advisors to form Lighthouse Landing LLC. Jonathan Stein, a founding partner of Diversified Realty, was with Roseland Development, which had originally arranged to purchase the GM site, but then withdrew from the deal. Stein commented that, “After more than 15 years of planning, it’s very gratifying to see site preparation and construction set to commence at Edge-On-Hudson. I’m confident this project will be immensely beneficial to Sleepy Hollow and surrounding communities. I’m grateful, as well, for the support we have had locally as the project has moved forward.”
Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray has referenced the project’s value for the community as well. “This is a once-in-a hundred-year opportunity for the village, and we’re confident the development will benefit Sleepy Hollow and surrounding communities for years to come,” he stated at an event last year commemorating the return to operation of the nearby Lighthouse on the Hudson.