Kingstonian project adds affordable housing

Mayor Steve Noble said this week he’s reached a compromise solution on the thorny issue of affordable housing at a major residential, commercial and parking complex proposed for Uptown Kingston.

If approved, the proposal would add 14 below-market rate studio and one-bedroom apartments to the Kingstonian project. Developers JM Development will cover all costs associated with the 14 units.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction. It complements the affordable housing policies that we already have,” said Noble. “And it shows that the developers are hearing from the community.”


As originally proposed, the Kingstonian would consist of a 129-unit apartment building and 400-car parking garage on the site of what is now a municipal parking lot at the corner of Wall and North Front streets. Across the street, on the corner of North Front Street and Fair Street Extension, a brick warehouse would be demolished to make way for a 29-room boutique hotel. The project also includes commercial space, a public plaza where Fair Street Extension now sits and an elevated walkway across Schwenk Drive linking the site to Kingston Plaza. The project by Orange County-based JM Development Group and Kingston Plaza owner Brad Jordan is expected to cost $53 million. Some $46 million of the total cost will be borne by developers while $6.8 million in state grants will pay for the removal of existing infrastructure and other prep work at the site.

A city-issued request for qualifications to develop the site did not include an affordable housing requirement; instead the document called for developers to maintain 200 units of public parking. Developers have previously argued that the cost of building, maintaining and operating the public parking facility would make subsidized housing unfeasible. Rents are expected to start at $1,350 per month.

The lack of an affordable housing component has formed one core of opposition to the new project. Local housing activists fear that the Kingstonian will contribute on ongoing gentrification and displacement of existing residents and businesses. Activists have also argued that the city’s own zoning code mandates that 20 percent of all new housing units be designated as affordable in the zoning code’s Mixed Use Overlay District where the Kingstonian would be located. The city’s zoning enforcement officer has ruled that the 20 percent rule does not apply to the project because it is new construction and not adaptive reuse of an existing building — an interpretation challenged by some activists.

Under the new proposal, the total number of residential units at the Kingstonian would rise from 129 to 143. The 14 new units would be designated “workforce affordable,” meaning they would be open to people making between 60 and 110 percent of Area Median Income. Studio apartments in the subsidized units would range from $475-$871 depending on income. One-bedroom units would rent for between $580-$1,064. Overall, the affordable units would make up about 10 percent of the total apartments in the complex.

Noble said the affordable housing plan emerged from talks between himself and the developers that began in February 2018. Noble said they had initially hoped to find a program through the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal, or a partnership with local housing  nonprofit RUPCO to offset the costs of the subsidized units, but that they were unable to come up with a suitable funding stream.

“In the end, this is what we were able to come up with,” said Noble.

There are 11 comments

  1. Neil Millens

    Why no mention of the Ulster County Planning Board’s report and position with regard to the project (which supported the interpretation advanced by the “activists” referenced in your article)?. By your ommission,
    you create the impression that those voicing concerns are unsupported extremists rather than reasonable and representative of many in the community.

    1. Aphrodite


      I’ve seen the misguided “activists”involved in the opposition to the Kingstonian. This was never supposed to be anything but an economic engine to expand the tax base in Kingston to help increase opportunities across Kingston.

      How do they feel about some of those activist leaders advocating from their cushy homes in Roosevelt Park with offices in Uptown? Just curious.

        1. SG

          No – totally misguided. Expecting a private developer who’s footing 97% of the
          bill to bend like a willow tree is unreasonable. If The Kingstonian is not built, you,
          personally, will see the negative ripple through Kingston. We’ve all endured a
          greuling 30-years of Kingston literally withering on the vine. (Perhaps YOU and
          the other ‘activists’ are more recent arrivals?). But trust me, and go out and learn
          of what you speak…Kingston has suffered an excruciating fall since IBM fell apart…and now, we all are benefiting from the past 8-10 years of a slow rebirth. Which admittedly has accelerated in the past 5-years…and if we all behave like
          intelligent adults who want to see our city thrive once again, we’ll stop fighting plans such as The Kingstonian.

          Only everyone who owns a business, wants a job, pays taxes, enjoys doing things
          in our city and/or hopes to see more lights on and more people on our streets
          supporting our local businesses due to the hard work of LOCAL developers wants this da#n thing approved and built.

          This is a phenomenal plan that will make Kingston better.

          Or go to some other city that wants to be the welfare dumping ground for the region. WE – are tired of that and think its time that EVERYONE BE WELCOME…EVEN THOSE WHO MAKE A GOOD LIVING!

    2. Dan Barton

      Neil, we are aware of the UCPB report and will doubtless include it in a future story – the fact that the Common Council will need a supermajority to overcome its recommendations is a serious hurdle over which the Kingstonian will need to leap, it seems. But I don’t agree the story creates the impression you think it creates. – Dan the editor

  2. Patzilla

    This will always be known as Noble’s Folly because of the ugliness of the project and the fact that Noble is giving away grants for “revitalization” to the wealthy developers rather than using those funds to truly revitalize Kingston. No oversight from Albany on this either. Gentrification rather than revitalization is the keyword here. Noble is a totally irresponsible leader(?).

    1. SG

      Silly Rabbitt – this project is 97% PRIVATE FUNDED BY LOCALS! Got it?!?!?!? They own a hardware store and a shopping center that you and I use daily…or do you?
      Also, why in the hell would Albany have any say in this?
      You drank the Koolaid and seem to have been hypnotized that this is about tearing down homes?
      Bulldozing a neighborhood?
      THIS IS EMPTY LAND – PARKING LOTS – PARKING LOTS THAT GENERATE RUNOFF – EMPTY NO HISTORIC VALUE…Please, have a little self-respect and stop spouting garbage?!?!?!?

      You literally do not know what you’re talking about! And it would be highly amusing if it weren’t so dangerous.

  3. Dr. Allen W

    In all of this discussion it is important for opponents of the proposal who call out words like gentrification or the forced relocation of residents there is one fact that they overlook, and is a key flaw in the argument they attempt to make.

    Not one single residence, not one single resident, not one single historic building is being removed,
    relocated or forced out with this proposal.

    The Kingstonian is designed to take what are currently two vacant parking lots, one vacant non-historic
    building, one crumbling, poorly maintained, graffitti and litter strewn notch-park, and one abandoned
    non-historic hardware warehouse that was built int he 1940s to replicate an older building which burned,
    and thus has no historic preservation value, and build new 21st Century, energy responsible, height-appropriate
    buildings in context with the surrounding existing buildings (many of which are in disrepair, if you walk the
    intersection there are crumbling facades, poor maintenance of brick work, peeling paint, the need for
    replacement windows, and much more) and if anything, will actually push existing property owners to step it up and make needed repairs and upgrades to their buildings.

    The Kingstonian will bring new business, new visitors, new residents, new tax revenue, new parking, and new building stock to a city that needs it.

    All of this being done, as noted, without requiring a single resident, household, or business to be relocated.
    The property is empty, vacant, uninhabited, and nearly 85% of the site is empty surface parking.

    The Kingstonian is a win for Uptown and for Kingston.

    1. An advocate for stopping the madness, who supports positivity, and the intelligent advancement of our world

      Hey Doc, What’s up. You forgot to mention jobs, lot’s and lot’s of jobs. Jobs in the clean up, demo, building, administration, and support from local supply chains and services, like food ( All these folks eat, everyday!), building supply, office and shipping services, and much more, such as hospitality crafts and the like, also, during the demo and “NEW” construction phase. Please, use local union labor, too further this great projects positive impact on Uptown, and the area, as a whole. Maybe, our local legislature can knock out a pilot too do just that, use local union Tradesmen and Craftsman in the construction. Then, there will be the jobs created by the finished building, and the “NEW” businesses it will contain. Finally, by revitalizing, and adding, again “NEW” populace too the community, and by revitalizing, you certainly will add even more new businesses too support all this added traffic. On top of this, this project will now increase low income housing too the area, be a beautiful building, and keep “local money” here. Jobs’, jobs’, jobs’, and more job’s. Tax revenue, tax revenue, and more tax revenue. So what’s not too like?

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