September 23, 2012Hudson Landing developer promotes promenade, seeks funding

Real estate developers planning to build the Hudson Landing project on the Kingston waterfront expressed optimism at a special joint session of the planning boards for the City of Kingston and Town of Ulster Monday night.

Representatives of AVR Realty Company gave an update on the plan, which has been on the drawing boards for some 10 years.

The 1,600-plus unit residential project, located on 525 acres of prime riverfront land, is expected to be completed in 2032. Planning was approved in 2009.

The common council chamber was filled mostly with officials from both municipalities, with scant public interest or comment during the brief presentation.

Much of the discussion surrounded a quasi-public area called The Promenade, for which AVR seeks economic development assistance from New York’s consolidated funding application process.

“Looking ahead to the future, what we’re trying to achieve, is to get The Promenade [built] up front, to allow an immediate public amenity access, also as great incentive to spur development of the project,” said AVR representative Dan Simone.

“The economy is not cooperating with us,” Simone said. “We’re looking for new and creative ways to breathe some life into the project and bring it to fruition, in a time of somewhat adverse economic conditions.”

Some features of The Promenade area include a town center and kayak launch, with a museum built into a refurbished mule barn, around the neighborhood of John Street.

However, to date little actual development has taken place, outside of clearing land and access roads for construction crews. Simone expects sewer work to commence this autumn, and ground to break next spring in the portion known as North Cove.

Local watchdog groups are keeping a close eye, despite low public turnout. Manna Jo Greene, environmental director for Clearwater, expressed issues about the city sewer plant.

““The city is already violating its combined sewer overflow allowances,” Greene noted. “When there are multiple storms, large quantities of water flood the system, and raw sewerage ends up in the river.”

“We will continue to track it, and make sure the Hudson River is protected, because that’s our job,” Greene said.

Early in the AVR application process, Clearwater joined with Scenic Hudson and other ecological groups to form the Friends of Kingston Waterfront coalition.

“Our role over the years has been clearly to improve the project,” Greene said, “and we intend to keep doing that.”

Concessions they achieved include banning motor boats near endangered fish breeding, keeping protected wetlands, and winning mixed use zoning. “The nature of the project changed to traditional neighborhood design, which was not originally proposed,” Greene said.

Take a look at our Promenade Proposal Powerpoint.