Below is our full comment provided to The Daily Freeman in response to Ward 1 Alderman Tony Davis’ statement. We list here 10 solid reasons why senior supportive housing at Landmark Place makes sense for Kingston taxpayers:
1. We’re proposing a natural re-use that restores the historic Alms House, preserving one of Kingston’s unique landmark buildings.
2. We’ve designed an attractive senior residence in a park-like setting with mature, native-inherent landscape. This design provides a quality alternative to what standard commercial development will bear. Developers we’ve contacted suggest that commercial development on that corner will need to cut down all mature trees lining Flatbush and East Chester Streets, make additional curb cuts, and bring truckloads of fill to raise up the site. Our proposal for Landmark does none of that.
As to what benefits the City of Kingston financially, we disagree with Alderman Davis’ assessment for the following reasons:
3. This site has been available since 2012. To date, no one has knocked on the County or RUPCO’s door offering any grand commercial development scheme or made any offer to buy us out.
4. Our proposal offers the City of Kingston a $20-million dollar site redevelopment that creates local construction jobs, pays professional fees, purchases materials, and supports local businesses.
5. Landmark Place creates 7.5 new, full-time-equivalent permanent jobs available in the City of Kingston.
6. Landmark Place saves taxpayer dollars now being spent on shelter, motel and expensive hospital costs. Each day, roughly 170 people receive emergency housing that costs up to $100 per night; this money comes directly from taxpayer dollars.
7. The property will be put onto the tax role for the first time in its history.
8. As a housing development, our proposal pays the City of Kingston a one-time recreation fee of $132,000. Commercial development is not required to pay that rec fee, leaving the City short $132,000. The rec fee charged to housing development is $2,000 per unit.
9. In rec fees, RUPCO paid $110,000 to the City for The Lace Mill. When you add up the rec fees we will pay for Landmark Place and Energy Square, RUPCO will pay total recreational fees of $356,000, funding the City of Kingston can surely use.
10. Lastly, Kingston hasn’t seen any new senior housing come online since 2001 while other Ulster County towns have created 469 senior units since that year. Our aging population needs dedicated senior housing for those living on modest Social Security and retirement incomes.