Gardiner cabin resort unveils building designs

Rendering of Heartwood’s lobby, spa and restaurant buildings.

Shinrin Yoku, LLC, the development company headed by Phillip Rapoport and Kristin Soong Rapoport, has released its first public renderings of structures planned for the Heartwood eco-resort in Gardiner. Set on a 141-acre site that was formerly home to a tree farm, located on the north bank of the Shawangunk Kill in the Tuthilltown hamlet, Heartwood will include 70 cabins, a main building with spa and restaurant and an event space.

One of the renderings depicts the entryway to the main building complex, to be constructed in the center of the lot, set back from both the stream and Route 44/55. The design is geometrically spare and simple, the single-story building modules capped by triangular roofs that recapitulate the visual rhythms of the Shawangunk Ridge in the background. The foreground shows a native wildflower meadow surrounding wooden steps leading up to the roofed outdoor space that the principals are calling the atrium. Trees grow through the floor of the central patio, where a stone chimney appears to float in midair above a firepit, so as not to block the cliff viewscape. The airy design, incorporating what were promised during the application process to be primarily natural materials, suggests East Asian influences; indeed, shinrin yoku is the Japanese phrase meaning “forest bathing,” a popular trend of seeking physical and psychic harmony through meditative relaxation in the outdoors.

Rendering of Heartwood’s double cabin.

“Guests will arrive to Heartwood at the vaulted atrium space that frames the beautiful view of the Shawangunk Ridge. This rendering was created from a photo we took at the actual future location of the atrium. The space was designed to provide an indoor/outdoor experience that carries over into the central amenity buildings and the cabins, where large windows provide views of the Ridge and the field and forest around you,” Kristin Soong Rapoport explains. “The lobby, pools and spa are to the left of the atrium, while the restaurant and event programming space are to the right.” The restaurant, which will be open to day visitors as well as overnight guests — “a gathering place for neighbors and friends” — will feature “a seasonal menu from locally grown and foraged food, complemented with whiskey from Tuthilltown Distillery and baked goods from our favorite local bakeries.”


The second rendering depicts the interior of one of the higher-end double cabins, dominated by a cliff view at the far end. This type of accommodation will be sited close to the central building complex, while the more rustic “forest cabins” will be strung along the high bluff overlooking the Shawangunk Kill, surrounded by native trees and connected by mulched paths. “Hotel guests will have a choice of different cabin types at different price points, ranging from smaller forest cabins to luxurious field cabin suites with views of the Ridge,” Rapoport continues. “All cabins are fully conditioned for year-round use with en suite baths, private verandas, luxury bedding and a sophisticated and relaxed décor.”

While the development timeline may still be impacted by the current lawsuit filed by the citizens’ group Friends of Gardiner challenging the Planning Board’s approval of the Heartwood project, the Rapoports are moving forward with the intent of breaking ground during the 2019 building season. “We have been working with local engineers and consultants. We are preparing for construction later this year and have been in awe of the artists, practitioners and purveyors reaching out to collaborate with us,” says Kristin Soong Rapoport. “It’s terrible as a Gardiner taxpayer to see a small group of people forcing the Town to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend a decision it made based on careful review and overwhelming support for the project.”

There are 40 comments

  1. Pinocchio

    One wood stove to heat a big glass walled structure two stories tall? That would take 35 cords of wood per cabin. Better get a paid professional fire department and pay for it with the proceeds from the rents.

    1. Mic

      I love how you are a total troll.
      Your comment is worthless.
      Your math is absurdity from thin air.
      Your house might be a gaping wind tunnel but these are modern build, thermal maximized,
      thermal glass, super-insulated…one wood stove for someone who stays a couple of nights
      is all that’s needed. It will be a comfortable 72-78 degrees inside all winter long.
      What’s your problem?!?!??!??!

      1. Verbal I.Q. 120

        “To sing or play in a jovial manner” is the meanings of “troll”. It’s in the dictionary (Merriam-Webster). Look it up?

  2. Scott R

    Breathtaking modern design. Very nice, we will support this. The more growth the better, we want business, traffic and more people spending money. This will add more jobs to area.

    Welcome new business to area.

  3. Gres

    Seriously… there are over 400 Gardinerites supporting the opposition to this project. The reason for the lawsuit is that the Planning Board (and its consultants) ignored and violated Town Code and State Law and completely disregarded the recommendations and policy voted on by Gardiner Residents.

    Read the Petition for yourself and make up your own mind:

    1. Dr. Edward K


      Did 400 people sign a petition?! Sure…do they live nearby…ABSOLUTELY NOT…I GOT PILES OF PROPERTY LINES, CENSUS DATA, AND TAX RECORD THAT PROVE IT.

      Shame on you.

      1. Gres

        There are 400 Gardinerites, and your slanderous and vitriolic comments are unbecoming and decidedly beneath someone claiming to be a “Dr.”

        Further, it’s about the law and the Planning Board not following procedure or code. Read the petition as you have no idea what you are talking about.

        Shame on you…. “Dr.”

        1. Steven L. Fornal

          I’ve previously included sections of the Town of Gardiner zoning code that completely nullify the points to be made in the lawsuit against this project going forward. It appears that the usual tactic (or is it ignorance of the code?) of throwing sh*t and hoping something sticks is being employed.

          Remember, attorneys will take any case and argue for their clients. That doesn’t make the arguments more cogent vis-a-vis the Gardiner zoning code. I can tell you from decades of experience, the Planning Board seems to have done a good job of adhering to the code. It seems 400 residents don’t like the conclusions come to by that board. But there is substantiation for everything the PB allowed.

          Time and again this same scenario plays out and time and again the only one coming out on top is the lawyer. This will definitely be the case here.

          The principals of this project have gone above and beyond in execution of their plan. They have demanded from their engineer that environmental concerns be in the forefront. They propose an exceptional design regime. The Planning Board has handled all impacts, especially noise by limiting it to 3 dBA above ambient level at lot line which is “imperceptible” by NYSDEC standards.

          Heartwood will be an amazing attraction to benefit the township.

          My suggestion to all those favoring a lawsuit, stop giving in to your unfounded fears and accept that while there may be a change, it won’t be a problem in any sense of the word. If those desiring to sue used those lands for hunting or snowmobiling or hiking or whatever or even just have gotten used to 141 acres of undisturbed land, realize it is not and never was your property.

          You’ll see. A year after it this project is completed you all will realize that your fears were unfounded. And the town of Gardiner will be better off for having it.

          1. Albany Post resident

            “if those desiring to sue used those lands for hunting or snowmobiling or hiking or whatever or even just have gotten used to 141 acres of undisturbed land, realize it is not and never was your property.”

            This is the most coherent statement regarding the absurd reactions to this resort I’ve heard yet. It’s ok to want things your own way, but you don’t get to throw a tantrum about people using property you don’t own in a lawful way. This is not a movie about a small town resisting a nuclear power plant, and those opposing the project are not plucky heroes saving us from evil. They are a few property owners who don’t want their neighbors wood lot to be developed. Sorry, it stinks, but y’all 400 people who care so much should have created an LLC or trust and bought it. The rest is hot air.

      1. Steven L. Fornal

        Fantastic decision/findings document. The Planning Board did Gardiner proud. An extremely thorough review with deep consideration.


  4. Andrea

    As a resident, I am not in love with this project. It is most definitely not an asset for people who live here. Jellystone park is literally 1/4 mile down the road! Did we need two “campgrounds with rustic cabins” within a mile of each other and both on the same waterway? Heartwood is designed to bring people from other places into Gardiner, but it is really unclear if there are any benefits to the people who live here. Not to mention so many vocal non-supporters of this project have been shouting into the wind. Out local government needs to do what is best for the residents.

    1. ThatsTheProcess

      The Planning Board voted 6 to 1 in favor of the project — an overwhelming majority. A popular vote was not taken and is not relevant here (even though I happen to think a “overwhelming majority” of Gardiner supports it despite a vocal minority that has been against it).

  5. Frank McLaughlin

    For those who support this monstrosity let’s build this zen party house next to your residence with live music, weddings, etc. in a neighborhood where the existence of such a development was previously considered inconceivable. My wife and I along with hundreds of our neighbors bought our homes and paid taxes with the expectation our elected officials would abide by the laws of our town. Apparently, that isn’t the case. This sets a bad precedent where the law is ignored to accommodate a special interest. I’ll be registering my discontent on election day.

    1. Steven L. Fornal

      The town’s Planning Board scrupulously adhered to the zoning code. Those hopping on the lawsuit bandwagon are simply throwing their money away.

      Heartwood did an amazing job vis-a-vis their plan.

      And, to the Gardiner Planning Board members catching hell, ignore it. Ya done good!!

  6. Charlotte

    This is gorgeous! Amazing design that I’m sorry to say, sounds like its forcing some in Gardiner “to grow up”! FYI – Jellystone is not a quality desitnation, it’s a lo-fi experience. This is a game changer here and as a Gardiner resident I WELCOME IT WITH OPEN ARMS.

    This will bring a different kind of visitor to our community, and they will eat in our local restaurants, buy gas in our local gas stations, buy outdoor gear, pay room tax, pay sales tax, and pay staff who will work at a four star resort and earn good wages. Those locals will then be able to go home and buy groceries, pay mortgages, send their kids to school.

    The opposition to this is nothing more than “I was here first ELITISM” and it is vile. Shame on all of you. Oh, and FYI, the “doomsday” scenerio the NIBY’S have been serving up the locals will never happen. It will be built, it is glass and wood and blends into the surroundings, and nothing bad will happen. It never does. Every time something like this is built, all of the evil outcomes just never ever exist.

    That’s because – it isn’t evil.
    It’s called economics serving our community.

      1. Steven L. Fornal

        I had a commercial mine with ZERO mitigation located adjacent to my property; at the time in the most restricted residential district in town; with 50 thirty foot dump trailer trips a day coming in and out; zero mitigation for dust, vibration, fumes and noise.

        This project isn’t that by a long, long shot. The noise mitigation alone means ZERO perceptible noise.

        Y’all should thank the project sponsors for choosing your town for their brilliant concept to become reality.

        1. Just Sayin'

          Steve, seems like you live in Accord. Not Gardiner.

          Talk about duplicitous.

          This is you right
          ??? “ACCORD – Huge fines have been levied to no avail. The NYSDEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) was supposed to have cleaned up the debris but backed off because of price ($5,500 was the amount I heard). The court postponements are ludicrous. But, as stated, the system isn’t working when neither the prosecution nor defendants show time after time, something is very wrong.
          This is an open and shut case. The NYSDEC could easily remove the illegally dumped material and hold it for evidence for future trials yet refuses to do so. To think our supposed protector of the environment allows that material (toxic?) to remain and potentially foul water supplies is just as criminal as the perpetrators of the crime.
          NYSDEC, get off your collective ass and remedy this situation. NOW!

          Steven L. Fornal

          1. Steven L. Fornal

            Yes, that’s me. What’s your point? I’m talking about Planning Board actions which I comment on routinely (having graduated from Land Use Leadership Alliance, a PACE Law School sponsored training).

            I try to educate people on zoning issues. How does desiring the clean up of an illegal dump w/questionable material left to seep into water supply have anything to do with this? Or, is it that you feel unless you live in a place you can’t comment? As stated, I comment often on Planning and Zoning issues as a public service.

            Which I’ll reiterate here: The Gardiner Planning Board did a VERY thorough job. Those opposing the Heartwood project won’t be winning the law suit. And, those opposing this project would be opposing a subdivision putting up 28 homes, too. Guaranteed.

            BTW, having 28 new neighbors could very easily be worse with ATV use and what about the neighbor that plays their stereo so loud that you can’t stand it. Gardiner’s noise control section (Environmental Performance Standards) allows 60 dBA from 8:00 PM to 7:00 AM. My guess from having taking innumerable sound samplings would be that the ambient level around Heartwood to be somewhere about 45 dBA. A rise of 15 dBA would be more than noticeable. The Heartwood project is being allowed only 3 dBA over ambient level which will put it at the imperceptible level and significantly lower than tree frogs and crickets.

            So, again, how on earth do you compare illegal dumping of potentially toxic material to Heartwood’s beautiful, environmentally conscious project???

  7. Steven

    Here’s the facts:
    Gardiner has a population of 5,650 people. If 400 people signed the petition, that leaves 5,250
    of us who do want this project or just don’t really have any concerns about it. That’s a majority of
    our residents.

    More facts:
    There are only 19 Homes within proximity of the proposed site. So, even if those home are families
    of four, that’s only 76 people at maximum who have a vested interest in what’s built nearby.

    The rest are businesses like, Sunflower Arts Studio – who will benefit from new tourism.

    The simple fact being, that someone — a one — has been spreading the fear and stirring the
    oppostion by getting 400 people who have no direct adjaceny, no affiliation, no personal interest
    at all in killing this proposal.

    That is unfortunate, because unlike the comments in here, Jellystone Camping is not a destination anyone local would go to in the first place, because there is no amenity that would cause one to visit.

    This plan puts a restaurant we can enjoy, a spa we can all enjoy if that’s your thing, and I for one plan to use both. I personally know people who will also use both because we don’t have that available nearby.

    So, seriously, let’s stop with the hysterics and acknowledge that is this an off-the-radar luxury resort that is beautifully designed and adds to hte benefits of our community.

    It’s coming, so cheer up. Go get a massage, it will relax you.

    1. Frank M.

      Shallow , incoherent logic. I know many people who weren’t even aware of this project. Because you haven’t officially registered your discontent does not mean you support it !

  8. Claudia

    It does not have ‘overwhelming support.’ I am a resident of Gardiner who lives just across the road from this planned resort being built in a residential zone. Those who support it do NOT live in this neighborhood – that I can guarantee. I moved here for the quiet of country life. We already have Jellystone Park just down the road, a distillery and restaurant across the road and, potentially, this. The town has not followed Town Code or State Law. They have also repeatedly ignored the recommendations of local residents and the real environmental impact from building on this land. I pay taxes here. I don’t expect my town to ignore the taxpayers and longtime residents in favor of money. That I am disappointed and angry is an understatement. I suggest you write another article explaining the real situation here. This is just PR for a project that has been flawed from the beginning and for a town that clearly does not support its residents.

  9. Jeff

    Who in their right mind feels the need to complain about local homeowners pursuing their legal rights? If you think this project follows the zoning laws and that the process by which it was approved was legal then just sit back and see them win in court and the development go forward.

    Also, this blanket idea that every development is good for the town makes no sense and ignores all evidence you would need to actually reach an informed conclusion. Without determining the taxes this landowner will pay, the incremental cost of providing the services a facility of this size needs, figuring out how many people will actually buy things in town (knowing that the resort is specifically designed to be an inclusive experience including food on site), and then evaluating the number of local service jobs will be created, its nonsense to think you can reach any conclusion about whether this will benefit the community or not. I guess you can just have fun yelling louder because that’s all thats happening here.

    People, these comments are ridiculous, have no basis in reality, and are probably fake and paid for by the interested parties. Furthermore, the actual people of Gardiner are nothing like these comments would suggest. Welcome to the world of fake news…

  10. Wigwam

    Quonset huts, with arching, graceful curves, made of steel for bearing snow outside and a sprinkler system inside at a fraction of the cost of what is shown here would put more Americans back to work, be less of an intrusion on the landscape, and yield higher profits. Put the Quonset huts in a large circle, and have a communal garden inside its center for all to congregate in, eating Indian squash, Indian corn and smoking Indian tobacco. Sweat lodges, not White Man’s “spa”?

  11. Tim

    The developers have been 100% dishonest
    This is NOT tents as described (glamping)
    I was not opposed to the project until I saw this
    A grandiose land-grab which will forever change the make-up of the Gardiner that we moved here for

  12. James

    Weren’t there 30+ public hearings for this project before it was approved 6-1 by planning board? A Hotel with lots of open space seems better than a crappy residential subdivision, will be good for local businesses, and create jobs. Seems like those who oppose the project don’t care about jobs and economic opportunity for those of us who don’t have the luxury of filing lawsuits in our free time!

  13. Truthout

    This article is an infomercial disguised as news. Wonder how much Heartwood paid for the article/advertisement. There is no way a reporter wrote this or even edited the story. The author is Heartwood not Frances.

    And oh yes… the Townsmen need to bow down and praise the almightly unelected Town Planning Board for getting paid to sit at a meeting and listen to their advisors who tell them what they want to hear and how to disregard Town Code. The article 78 is about uniform application of the Laws of the Town. It’s about property rights for residents and developers to be applied equally and according to the Law of the Town.

    The Town Planning Board’s decision was nothing more than Animal Farm at work. The 6-1 decision was nothing more than an unelected, unaccountable administrative body ruled that one class of people … are more equal than the other residents, taxpayers and citizens of this Town.

    1. Steven L. Fornal

      It’s attitudes like this one that makes it difficult for Planning Boards to get people to serve. All that time and effort only to be ridiculed.

      In this case, the PB will be vindicated. They did a great job. Very thorough.

  14. David S

    Very attractive modern design. It will fit into our community very well.

    Welcome change and growth, don’t hold onto the past, change is okay.

    It’s okay if Gardiner N.Y. add’s a building or two every 25 years.

    Dont worry it will still be the same Gardiner……..

  15. truthout

    It’s not about change. It’s about equal application of the law. If the Code is for everyone to abide by then residents and development need to be accountable and held to its standards. The Planning Board disregarded the Code when it approved Heartwood. The Planning Board has an undiscretionary obligation to ensure that the impact of the development does not exceed what is allowed as of right.

    There was never a determination as to what is allowed as of right and there was never a determination of whether the development exceeds what the Code allows. Including the fact that public restaurants cannot be constructed in the RA district. A provision specifically stated in Town Code.

    The issue isn’t change its about equal application of rights and property restrictions. The Planning Board pulled an “Animal Farm.” No one should believe that this type of behavior should be tolerated.

    1. Steven L. Fornal

      You see? This is what I’m talking about. The town’s Schedule of Uses allows for Lodging facility in an RA zone with a Special Use Permit. That’s what the Planning Board proceeded on (along with a site plan review).

      From the town’s code, word usage, definition of terms: “LODGING FACILITY Any hotel, motel, inn, or other establishment providing sleeping accommodations for transient guests, with or without a dining room or restaurant, excluding bed-and-breakfast establishments.

    2. David S.

      Codes can and hopefully will be adjusted to accommodate this fantastic small micro project for a very small little town called Gardiner N.Y. ,barely a cross roads on the map.

      I would be more concerned about impacts on the travelers as the business in one year will bring 10 times the total population of Gardiner.

      it is funny a tiny little place like Gardiner N.Y. would even have a building dept.

      Is this play school?

      1. Truthout

        Exactly the point of the comments.

        The Town Board can change the Code. The Planning Board cannot. The Planning Board has to follow Code as written and adopted by the Town.

        It’s really quite simple. There are rules, the Town adopted rules, the Planning Board has to play by them.

        So now that we agree. The fact that you like or do not like the project is irrelevant.

      2. Truthout

        From your comments and unfamiliarity on process and Code, stands to logic you are NOT from Gardiner.

        1. David S.

          Thank God i got a life and left big bad Gardiner N.Y. Lived there 28 years and that was more than enough.

          Nice place to grow up than leave, always enjoy visiting family at the Holidays.

          truthfully their is nothing there, some old memories if that means anything….

          Life goes on after Gardiner…..

          Guess i miss the great morning coffee at the Corner store…And Bensons…..

        2. Steven L. Fornal

          This is a comment posted several weeks ago on another article about Heartwood lawsuit. As for familiarity on process, I have served as Chairman of the Town of Rochester Planning Board, currently serve as ViceChair of Zoning Board of Appeals as well as the town’s Zoning Review Committee and am also a graduate of Land Use Leadership Alliance (a training program sponsored by PACE Law School). The below comment quotes from the Gardiner Zoning Code:

          Per usual, those fearing change decide to sue a definite plus to Gardiner. Heartwood has done a great job of planning this resort and its engineer did an equally great job of assuring it would be environmentally sound; a wonderful addition to the township.

          Per usual also is the stretching of zoning code to make a “case” against the planning board review. An example might suffice: “The Article 78 action goes on to contend, ‘Restaurants are not permitted in the [rural agriculture] district unless it is either in connection with agricultural use, or is an adaptive reuse of existing buildings. The restaurant proposed by the developer and approved by the Planning Board meets neither of these criteria’.”

          This is the definition within the Gardiner zoning code re RECREATIONAL CAMPS AND FACILITIES which ARE ALLOWED within the SP (including SP2 and SP3): “Seasonal recreational uses that may involve seasonal cabins and other permanent seasonal structures, including but not limited to seasonal transient lodging, information kiosks, clubhouses, pools, tennis courts, exercise facilities, basketball courts, and other recreational structures, excluding golf courses, hotels, resorts, and facilities for travel trailers, campers, and other motorized camping vehicles.”

          That perfectly fits the Heartwood project. So does the RA allowance for Lodging facility which is defined as: “Any hotel, motel, inn, or other establishment providing sleeping accommodations for transient guests, with or without a dining room or restaurant, excluding bed-and-breakfast establishments.”

          Another claim against the town’s planning board is, “It aggregates the square footage of all the buildings planned for the site at ‘48,123 feet of nonresidential structures, arguing that this exceeds the 6,000-square-foot “maximum footprint for nonresidential structures” per the town code’.”

          220-16 e (3)(c) states:
          “The maximum total floor area of all structures shall not exceed 6,000 square feet, unless the Planning Board finds that a structure of greater size will not compromise the purposes of this § 220-16 or the conservation findings, and that special design features or other mitigating circumstances justify allowing an increased floor area . Such circumstances may include the grant of a conservation easement on land of conservation value substantially in excess of the minimum lot area requirement.”

          Again, obvious is the fact that the town’s planning board adhered to their zoning code and was meticulous in its procedural way forward.

          My advice to those disgruntled citizens, save your money. Only the attorney will come out a winner here.

Comments are closed.