Updates on the Chalmers Mills project

Updated information about plans for the proposed Chalmers Mills residential and commercial development was released this week by Bill Teator of DEW Ventures, a partner with KCG Development in the project.

According to Teator, the following changes to the plans for the buildings and grounds have been made based on public concerns, suggestions and market viability:

  • The total number of apartment units has been decreased from 130 to 120. There will be 71 two-bedroom units and 49 single bedroom units.
  • The number of “market-rate” units has been increased from 26 to 31.
  • A rooftop deck is being planned for the commercial building which will house the restaurant and banquet hall facility.
  • The LA Group, a landscape architectural firm, will help design the landscaping and civic waterfront area to integrate the aesthetic of the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge.
  • Water, electric, and gas lines will be run along the waterfront boardwalk in order to facilitate spaces for outdoor cooking demonstrations and classes, art displays and activities, and other community events.
  • On the top floor, there will be a resident-only sun-room with a wide view of the river and surrounding scenery. The windows will have the ability to be opened in the warmer months to create a screened porch-like experience.

According to Teator, there are no plans to add in-unit washer and dryer hookups. Current plans call for a shared laundry room on each floor.

“These help encourage neighbor engagement,” Teator responded in regards to the laundry rooms. “As many have also noted to us directly, prominent residential apartment communities across the region and nation of this density do not have in-unit laundry, including in major metro markets. We have been collecting prospective residents on a growing interest list based on the planned amenities. In our other projects across the state, we are also programming on floor laundry areas with associated lounge seating.”

Tax credit approval pending

In regards to the status of obtaining New York State low-income housing tax credits, Teator replied, “We are engaged in financial underwriting with our investors, conventional debt lenders, and the state agency that awards the tax credits. We anticipate feedback next spring 2019.”

KCG Development plans to sell the tax credits to investors in order to raise capital for the project. If the credits are awarded, Teator said that 75% of the project will be funded with private funding including $18 million in cash from investors. The remaining portion will be funded with a conventional 30-year mortgage loan.*

Obtaining the tax credits is a major contingency in the $300,000 contract between KCG Development and the City of Amsterdam for purchase of the land.

Environmental Remediation

According to Stacy Kaplowitz, a vice president of development at KCG Development, the firm is adjusting its plans to take into account petroleum contamination discovered earlier this year at the site.

“We collected the exposed contaminated soils into sealed drums, reported the findings to [the department of environmental conservation] and disposed of them utilizing proper [hazardous material] disposal protocol. Because of the site’s history in the brownfield clean-up program, we have been coordinating with DEC on all steps,” Kaplowitz responded.

She added, “As far as how this impacts our development moving forward, we will be adding several additional feet of fill to the site to properly encapsulate the contaminated soil, per DEC direction.”

PILOT program

According to Teator, KCG Development is seeking a 30-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) program for the project. Their proposal is to begin with a $30,655** payment to localities in the first year, steadily rising over the course of 30 years to $149,912.

According to the proposal, the payments are based on 5% of the project’s projected gross income. In addition, the proposal estimates the project will generate 146 construction jobs and 29 permanent jobs. It estimates the project will generate approximately $186,000 per year in sales tax generated from an additional $2.5 million in taxable sales.

The application is currently being processed by the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency. According to Montgomery County Business Development Center CEO Ken Rose, the county legislature, Amsterdam Common Council, and Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education must all approve the PILOT by resolution. If approved by all three, final approval could come at the agency’s January 10 board meeting.

* A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that 25% of the project would be funded by the sale of tax credits.

** A previous version of this story reported a different value for the first year payment which was based on the proposal from KCG which listed the value incorrectly.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.