Pelham village officials began the first step in what is likely to be a lengthy process Tuesday night when they approved a memorandum of understanding with developers for the development of an 110-unit mixed use property on what is now village owned property.
Representative from Spinnaker Real Estate Partners and Clarion Partners met at Pelham village hall Tuesday to discuss the project, which would be built on an an L-shaped stretch of village owned property located between Fourth and Fifth avenues and Third Street and Lincoln Avenue.
Pelham village Mayor Edward Hotchkiss said the memorandum of understanding only means that the village and the developers have a mutual interest in further investigating the project. He said it could take as long as 18 months before the project meets all of the state environmental and local zoning and planning requirements needed for approval.
“The emphasis of this plan was to improve the village downtown retail district and to build up the commercial tax base, including encourage more residential development downtown to increase foot traffic,” Hotchkiss said.
The apartments would be ‘amenitized lifestyle communities’ marketed to first choice renters with high, disposable incomes. Developers said rents would be in the $2,500 to $3,000 range, with prices dependent on the size of the unit. The projected incomes of renters would be somewhere in the $80,000 to $120,000 range, according to developers.
The units would be made up of one and two bedroom apartments and rented at market rate.
The two existing parking decks that currently exist in the area now would torn down. An underground parking garage would be built for resident and an at-grade garage withh 100 parking spaces would be built for the public.
The firehouse would be left untouched.
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Trustee Paul McGoldrick reiterated the point that it is essential for the village to increase its tax base.
“We are really strapped financially—$1.2 million was paid for pension last year for a community of 6,800,” McGoldrick said. “Let us not miss that. I don’t know if it’s going to get any worse, but it might be the same. So the genesis of this was an effort to somehow bring more money into the coffers.
Hotchkiss said the village board decide to work with Spinnaker based on the firm’s reputation for building in suburban areas in a way that’s consistent with existing architecture and the fact that they are financially capable of pulling off the project.
“I know there concerns about the potential project and the impact it will have the schools,” Hotchkiss said. “Right now we have a concept, not a detailed plan that calls for high-end residential units above one or two retail space above Fifth Avenue. These apartment would be marketed to empty nesters, single young professionals and young couple without children or with very young children. We know based on statistical studies and Marbury Corners, which was designed along similar lines, that this kind of housing will likely have limited impact on the schools.”
Hotchkiss said there are only four children in the Marbury Corners, which has 66 homes, and they range in each from elementary school children to high schoolers.
Trustee Adam Kagan said the developers will pay the village and upfront fee of $25,000 after the memorandum of agreement is signed. If the project gets to the point where it reaches a purchase of sale agreement, the developers must pay the village and additional $50,000.
Developers have a six month window to decide if they want to proceed forward with the project.
If the developers decide to proceed with the project, the village would receive a package totaling roughly $4.1 million from the developer. The breakdown would be $1.5 million in cash; $100,000 to help renovate the firehouse; and 100 parking spaces valued at about $25,000 each.
“The developers can apply that $50,000 to the $1.5 million if we get that far,” Kagan said. “But if we don’t get to that point, they’ve lost the $25,000 and the $50,000.”
Board members maintained that there is no commitment on the village’s part and if both side move in good faith and the project doesn’t isn’t desirable, the village can end discussions. If the project proceeds, the $50,000 will be applied to the $1.5 million that the developers pay the village.
Clayton Fowler, founding partner of Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, said the apartments that are being proposed would be similar to the apartments building that were completed in this project that completed in South Norwalk, CT.
Fowler said he is company is more than willing to meet with community members as the process moves along.
“We want to engage the community earlier than later,” Fowler said. “Surprises aren’t good for anybody.”