The Kingston Local Development Corp. stands to turn a tidy profit on a former bank building in Midtown after a New York City developer made an offer on the vacant property that had been the proposed site of a police station.
Meanwhile, at an adjacent parcel once home to Kingston’s most notorious welfare motel, the city is looking for developers to transform the vacant lot into a retail and housing venue to support an arts-based Midtown revitalization effort.
On Monday, July 6, Mayor Shayne Gallo announced that the former Bank of America building at 635 Broadway had sold for $340,000 to New York City-based developer Charles Blaichman. Blaichman, the man behind the ultimately unsuccessful Noah Hotel project, plans to convert the building at the corner of Henry Street into mixed-use residential and commercial space. The Kingston Local Development Corporation, which holds the deed to the building, is expected to clear $258,836 on the deal. Back in 2013, Bank of America agreed to sell the building to the city for $1, with the understanding it would be used for helping with the economic revitalization of Kingston.
The sale will end the city’s involvement with the building which has been vacant since 2010 and was to have played a key role in Gallo’s Midtown revitalization plan. Gallo had pledged to convert the former bank into the new KPD headquarters; the added police presence, on what had long been a trouble plagued block would, Gallo said, lift the fortunes of the entire neighborhood and spur investment along the Broadway corridor. The proposal never came to fruition, in part because of costs associated with moving the police department. Earlier this year, Gallo announced that he was giving up on the police station plan and had instructed KLDC to put the building on the market. The property was originally listed for $375,000.
Directly across Henry Street from the bank building stands the former site of the King’s Inn. Once synonymous with urban blight, the motel was demolished in 2011. Since taking office, Gallo has pledged to find a developer for the parcel, next door to the Ulster Performing Arts Center, but at least two previous proposals for the site have fallen through.
Last week, the city issued a formal “request for proposals” seeking a developer to create a mixed-use building combining ground-floor commercial use with residential units above. Among the “development objectives” laid out in the RFP are that the resulting development complement Gallo’s Business, Education, Arts and Technology revitalization plan. The plan calls for the creation of an arts district for Midtown Kingston and an education corridor around Kingston High School. Proposals for the RFP are due Tuesday, July 28.