by Robert Kimmel
When the final phase of Sleepy Hollow’s East Parcel project is completed for village use, expected by 2026, costs of its construction will have reached an estimated $39 to $48 million.
Tax revenue raised from the adjacent Edge-on-Hudson mixed-use development, however, will more than cover potential payments on bonds issued by the Sleepy Hollow Local Development Corporation (SHLDC) to finance the construction projects planned on the 29-acre East Parcel, part of the former General Motors site.
Those assessments were presented to the Village’s Board of Trustees by representatives of WSP, a national engineering, construction consulting firm, on behalf of the SHLDC at a meeting last month.
David Schroedel, who served two years as chairman of the SHLDC until mid-June, also described how calculations were made to ensure Edge-on-Hudson tax revenue would also provide funds for other village needs. Schroedel has become a consultant to the SHLDC as its Strategic Planning Advisor.
“There were expectations in the community that when Edge-on-Hudson was built there would be some tax relief,” Schroedel told The Hudson Independent. “So we built in a very substantial assumption that the (village) taxes would be lower than they currently are.”
To set East Parcel bond payment limits, and to provide for potential tax decreases based on tax revenue from Edge-on-Hudson, Schroedel explained the calculations. “We discounted the current tax rate by 20 percent in our analysis and then allocated half of the increase in tax revenue that could go toward East Parcel bond payments.” As described, no more than 50% of the increased taxes that come from Edge-on-Hudson would go toward financing the East Parcel.
“When the village adds 3,000 residents, we are going to need more police officers, more DPW people and equipment,” Schroedel noted, while still anticipating a future decrease in taxes for property owners.
As part of his role as Strategic Planning Advisor, Schroedel will be developing financing strategies which include the potential issuance of tax-free bonds to fund various LDC projects.
He acknowledged that the cost of what he termed the “world class design” of the final plan “shocked everybody, but it also showed them how the community can, in fact, afford it, with some assumptions in place, primarily that the West Parcel development continues and is successful.” The Edge-on-Hudson development there includes 1,177 residential units, 165,000 square feet of commercial and retail space and a 140-room hotel, along with 16 acres of waterfront public space.
Original costs of the East Parcel development were “expected to be far lower,” Schroedel said. However, he added that the State Environmental Quality Review “generated public interest in amenities that we had not anticipated.” Among those amenities is the planned large community center, built within the final fifth phase of the project, whose cost is expected to be as much as $8.8 million. Another is a bridge to the West Parcel over the Metro North tracks, costing at least $5.7 million, not counting foundation work. Schroedel also noted that the plan calls for raising the DPW facility site in order to prevent any future problems from the floodplain.
The DPW buildings, roadways and storm water management are within the first of the five construction phases. The second phase involves a vegetated buffer zone and parking field, while the third phase includes a turf field, recreational courts, the great lawn, an amphitheater, additional parking, a skate park, lighting and landscaping. The bridge and ramp, an under bridge artist workshop, and bus garage compose the fourth stage.
“We phased the project so that milestones get met or don’t; this board or future boards will be able to say, ‘yes, go forward,’ or ‘slow down,’ depending upon the revenue stream,” Schroedel explained. “We worked hard to get it right,” he said of the SHLDC, and added he was “Proud that we had enormous public response,” citing heavy attendance at public hearings about the project along with a wide variety of public input.
The Village Board of Trustees now has the entire development under consideration, and for the project to progress, a special permit will be needed from the village. Following that, Schroedel said the site plan will go through the Planning Board process and then put various aspects of it out to bid. He noted all work will require meeting the standards of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
As for Schroedel’s appointment as Strategic Planning Advisor, Mayor Ken Wray, who is an ex-officio member of the SHLDC, said, “We’re fortunate to have a local resident of David’s caliber available who has the interests of the community at heart but who also has the business experience to manage complex projects.” The Mayor also lauded other members of the board: Michael Dawley, formerly its Treasurer, who was elected as Chairman, and Anthony Scarpati, who has been elected Treasurer, and Teresa Oeste-Villavieja, who remains Vice Chairperson.
The SHLDC has also announced an agreement to purchase the long vacated large building at 193 Beekman Avenue that once housed the local chapter headquarters of the United Auto Workers when the General Motors assembly plant was in operation. The $870,000 price will be funded by money received last year from the sale of track siding rights at the East Parcel to Metro-North.
The property will ultimately permit the village to provide auto and public pedestrian access to the East Parcel’s facilities from Beekman Avenue, and the village is expected to receive an easement permitting an extension of Clinton Street north into the East Parcel. The building itself could be put to a variety of uses.
“The purchase of the former UAW Building is an example of the key role the Sleepy Hollow LDC can play in jumpstarting economic development in the village,” Wray commented.
(For more information on the S HLDC and Schroedel’s new position, visit www.thehudsonindependent.com)
“There were expectations in the community that when Edge-on-Hudson was built there would be some tax relief. So we built in a very substantial
assumption that the (village) taxes would be lower than they currently are.”
— David Schroedel
Schroedel Brings Experience to New Position as SHLDC Advisor
Pursuing the implementation of the East Parcel Project by the SHLDC will be David Schroedel’s initial work as recently appointed Strategic Planning Advisor, but he has been committed to serving the Village of Sleepy Hollow for almost a decade.
He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Sleepy Hollow in 2008, and re-elected in 2010. As a Trustee, he served as Chairman of the Finance and the Public Safety sub-committees, and was a member of sub-committees overseeing the Department of Public Works, Village Communications, and General Motors Site Development. He is credited with spearheading the effort to rebuild the village’s water supply infrastructure with a 100-year time horizon, leading to the construction of a new reservoir tank and redundant supply connections to the three New York City aqueducts.
Schroedel brings a long history of management experience to his job. He was Chief Executive Officer of FINEX Management Services, Inc., for 33 years before retiring in 2013. The company specialized in providing management, consultation and information technology services to the health care industry. It pioneered in the early adoption of electronic health records management and storage, and developed highly reliable data acquisition and analysis software.
His appointment drew praise from the person who took over Schroedel’s post as Chairman of the SHLDC. “The LDC board is pleased that David has accepted our offer to serve as Strategic Planning Advisor,” Michael Dawley stated. “His expertise, commitment, passion, and historical knowledge have been instrumental in driving this important village project forward. As the idea of transforming the East Parcel becomes reality, retaining David is a major step towards assuring we have adequate resources and focus.”
Schroedel said, “I am very proud about what the LDC Board did in shepparding the project through this environmental process. It took a little longer than I thought it was going to take, about 20 months. But we got through it and I think we provided the Board of Trustees a very solid basis for their making decisions for their going forward.
“In my role as a volunteer I was putting in about twenty hours a week…over the last year and a half or so, once we got into the full blown SEQRA, (State Environmental Quality Review Act), process,” Schroedel said. “The Board has asked me to play a more pivotal role in holding together the team of the experts we have brought in to help us realize this mission.”
The SHLDC is described as a “Non-profit corporation that promotes and supports employment opportunities and economic development in Sleepy Hollow and surrounding communities through the use of selective financing, real estate development, public works, and related business partnerships.”
More information about it is available at http://www.sleepyhollowny.gov/sleepy-hollow-local-development-corporation