Residential apartments, retail space, and other amenities may be coming soon to the City of Amsterdam on the property once occupied by the Chalmers factory on the south bank of the Mohawk River. At Tuesday’s meeting, the Common Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Michael Villa to sign a letter of intent with KCG Development, giving them the go-ahead to begin working on plans to develop the property.
The letter outlines a two-phase project, with the first phase consisting of approximately 60 residential units and 15,000 square feet of commercial space. The second phase would add an additional 60 residential units. Both phases are estimated to require a total of $40 million in development funds. Although the timeline is still tentative, Villa said he hopes for construction to begin in early 2018.
The letter indicates that KCG will work with the Montgomery County Business Development Center to incorporate a culinary incubator, which could include a shared kitchen area, storage, a dining hall and event space. Outside gardens and space for outdoor events such as a farmers market are also mentioned in the letter.
Anthony Ceroy, vice president-development for KCG, attended the meeting to discuss the project and answer questions.
“It’s very exciting,” said Ceroy. “We think that this has potential to not just be a greater part of the community but truly a transformative mixed-use development that I think touches on a lot of the community’s goals. Not least of which is activating the pedestrian access of the fantastic – and let me take an aside and applaud you on the [pedestrian] bridge that goes over to [the Chalmer’s site]. I work in a lot of markets, and it’s fantastic, it’s very well done. Needless to say, I’m sure an ambitious project when it was undertaken and I was very impressed. So activating that space I think is key to any successful development at the site.”
“Beyond that, it’s our experience that integrating residential housing with things like culinary innovation spaces, exterior community access spaces, pedestrian friendly amenities, potentially banquet centers and things like that that are supplemental to the culinary component, as well as retail access, and really activating the views and natural aspects of the waterway you have there, the access and visibility to the downtown corridor, all that great stuff puts together a lot of variables on one site that we just don’t see in other places.”
“Needless to say we’re very excited about the opportunity to work on the site. We think it has the size, it has the location. It’s a flat site. You guys have done a tremendous amount of work in making it a very development friendly site.”
Ceroy described KCG as a group of real estate professionals who together have developed $1.3 billion worth in residential projects. The company’s website lists two other projects currently in New York State, one in Utica and another in Buffalo.
Ceroy stressed that the exact number of residential units could vary based on market studies that the firm plans to complete.
“Our idea here is to size the housing to the need. One of the things that’s spoken to in the [letter of intent] is getting a finite analytic approach to what the need truly is,” said Ceroy.
Alderman Rodney Wojnar asked how parking would be handled in the project. According to Ceroy, current plans call for the first story of the development to be level with the entrance to the pedestrian bridge, which would allow for ample parking below the buildings.
Villa said that discussions and planning with KCG have been going on between his office and the MCBDC for nearly 15 months.
“For me, it’s an engine driver, not only for [the south side], but economically for the entire city, matching that with Riverlink and downtown,” said Villa. “This has been a long process that really I’ve been proud to be a part of.”
Alderman Chad Majewski said, “It sounds like this is the project Amsterdam has been waiting for.”
The letter of intent specifies that KCG will purchase the property for $300,000 and provide an initial 10% deposit. Within 30 days of signing the letter, the KCG will complete a market feasibility study. The firm will provide materials necessary for New York State consolidated funding applications by July. A first draft of the entire site plan is expected to be submitted by October.