The City of Kingston has applied for another million dollars of state money for The Kingstonian development project on North Front Street in the Stockade neighborhood. In its Restore New York application filed Dec. 15, the city government expressed the belief that the underutilized Herzog warehouse at the site, a large component of the overall $51 million development project including the city parking lot across Fair Street, “is non-contributing to the historic district.” The million bucks for The Kingstonian side of the street, to be connected in the plan by an aerial walkway to the other side, is needed “to help offset the high costs associated with this $20.9 million urban redevelopment and adaptive reuse project.”
Earlier this month, The Kingstonian project was awarded a $2 million grant from Empire State Development in the 2017 state Community Funding Application process. It had applied for $4.2 million and had been designated a preferred project by the mid-Hudson economic development council.
The $20.9 million project program budget submitted as part of the Restore New York application allocates $275,000 in state Restore money and $75,000 in developer money for warehouse demolition work, plus $725,000 in state funds and just over $15 million in private money for construction work. Two million dollars will come from the state CFA award. Finally, the developers anticipate paying $2.85 million in various soft costs in connection with The Kingstonian project.
The application describes the larger project being undertaken by the JM Development Group LLC and Herzog Supply Corp. as boosting Uptown Kingston in “myriad” ways, “acting as a cornerstone to the city’s historic Stockade District and complementing other area businesses, while providing valuable parking spaces desperately needed in this growing section of the city.”
The entire mixed-use development project is proposed to include a 475-space parking garage, 129 market-rate apartments, a boutique hotel at the warehouse site and 40,000 square feet of retail space. The large private investment the city projected when it was awarded a state Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant of $9.7 million earlier this year is key. Without it, the Kingston DRI would lack the robust economic multiplier the state government could boast about.
If the new application is successful, the million-dollar Restore New York grant, supplemented by a 10 percent match from the developer, will go to the demolition of the warehouse and the construction of the 32-room hotel (“closely replicating the historic 1934 structure”), the retail space and the residential units. If the full million dollars isn’t awarded, the application earnestly explains, the project may have to be delayed while other sources of funding are sought. The application says the project will get its building permits by March 2019 and will be completed by March 2020 — surely an optimistic timetable.
Contrary to earlier statements about a positive environmental declaration under the state SEQR law, the latest application now anticipates a negative declaration in 2018. The city government is lead agency.
The latest project narrative increases the retail component of the project, upping employment predictions. “It will also create approximately 50 new [full-time equivalent] with the future tenants of the 76,500 square feet of commercial space, which is anticipated to include at least five retail and restaurant businesses,” the application states. It’s not clear how this part of the narrative aligns with the section where the retail space is sized at 40,000 square feet.
Total statewide funding for this year’s Restore New York program is $80 million. Based on demographic statistics and poverty indicators, the state classifies Kingston as “moderately distressed,” the middle category between “slightly distressed” and “severely distressed.”