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Five Express Interest In Developing Property Leased by Boat Club

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October 1, 2021

By Barrett Seaman—

The Washington Irving Boat Club was joined by four other parties in submitting RFQ/RFI (Request for Qualifications/Request for Interest) responses promulgated by the Village of Tarrytown last July. The deadline was Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 11 a.m.

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The purpose of the joint requests was to elicit both ideas on how the six acres currently housing the Washington Irving Boat Club (WIBC) and its restaurant might be used to better advantage by the village and to establish the credentials of the applicants. According to Village Administrator Rich Slingerland, this is the first step in a process likely to take two to four years before contracts are awarded and construction begins.

Because the riverside property, referred to by its address at 238 Green Street, is on dedicated parkland, the request stipulated that the village would not accept any proposal that included housing or a hotel. The goal, it said, was to seek “creative approaches to redevelopment of the property – for park-based uses…”

Not surprisingly, most, but not all, of the submissions focused on restaurant components, since eating establishments fell within the range of acceptable uses and because restaurants are more likely to provide a return on investment than, say, kayak rentals. Less prominent in the proposals was anything related to boating, although a couple suggested an openness to accommodate the existing Washington Irving Boat Club in one form or another.

The level of detail in the five proposals varied dramatically — from the 60-page submission by the WIBC itself to a six-page entry (including cover letter) from a Piermont-based group called Pier 115. (View the document repository with all five submissions here.) Here’s a summary of the proposals in the order they were listed by the village:

Barley House: Starting in Thornwood in 2015, this group has ambitions to spread its concept of brewpub service, best illustrated now by its Rye Beach property that features waterside outdoor dining. There was a full-service Barley House at the Tarrytown Marina, but the indoor portion was closed after damage by hurricanes, leaving only a bar and outdoor deck dining. Other than proximity to water, Barley House does not appear to have any marina experience. Its proposal did mention the prospect of engaging Oasis Marina as a potential partner that could create “a first-class marina with top-quality management.” It also stated, however, that the group was also “open to the idea of keeping the WIBC.”

Barley House’s Rye Beach waterside restaurant (Barley House)

NKB—N.K. Bhandari: This Syracuse-based architectural and planning firm touts its experience at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, where it did “comprehensive infrastructure repairs and modernization.” They also wrote a comprehensive plan for the Village of Haverstraw and designed the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries. Short on detail, the submission stated that any plan must be “understood in the larger context of the Tarrytown waterfront.”

National Resources: A regular, if not dominant presence on the Tarrytown waterfront, this is Joe Cotter’s Greenwich-based company that built the 219 units and 50,000 sq. ft. of retail space that comprise Hudson Harbor, with more residences to be built. NR also has had a proposal before the village to build a four-story “boatel” at the Tarrytown Marina. Its Green Street proposal leads not with a restaurant or marina but with a “Hudson Valley Gateway Visitors Center,” presumably designed to accommodate the anticipated influx of tourists. As for dining and boating, the proposal mentions potential partnerships with successful restaurant operators like Fish & Farmer, Xaviers or Rivermarket and a partnership with both the WIBC and the Tarrytown Boat Club that would share services to save money. “The importance of this component cannot be underestimated for the success of this project,” the proposal states, without offering any detail on how the two boat clubs would retain their identities or economic models.

Pier 115’s Hudson & Co. restaurant in Jersey City (Pier 115)

Pier 115: Headed by Peter Helou, a New Jersey Porsche Sales Manager whose family is in the jewelry business, this group offers prior experience working with National Resources on its Edgewater, New Jersey complex similar to Hudson Harbor. Its proposal includes photos of four restaurant/bars in New Jersey and Manhattan. Its overall vision is to integrate the public park and marina with a “state of the art” restaurant and banquet hall. “A robust riverfront restaurant and banquet operator,” according to the Pier 115 proposal, “is a strategic engine for economic development that ripples beyond the waterfront.”

WIBC: The incumbent resident of 238 Green Street’s proposal (see The Hudson Independent‘s coverage of WIBC’s quest to keep its home) devotes considerable space to defending its past, its contributions to the village and its unique role in Tarrytown as a “community boat club.”  Its proposal includes ambitious plans to upgrade the restaurant and marina, extensive landscaping aimed at merging with adjacent Losee Park and the creation of a “Hudson River Environmental Center” to attract visitors and particularly children.

What Next?

Over the next month, trustees and village staff will review and discuss the proposals. They will then interview the applicants and, sometime around the end of the year, decide which of them they want to pursue. In an email, Mayor Tom Butler stressed that there would be opportunities for village residents to weigh in with their views, and that there may be other requirements that were not included in the original solicitation. “This will be a partnership between the Village and the selected developer to do THE RIGHT THING for Tarrytown,” wrote the mayor.

The next step will then be the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will elicit detailed ideas on what should be on the property.

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