Proposed apartment, shopping complex could bring a new park and promenade to the Town of Wallkill – Times Herald-Record
| Times Herald-Record
TOWN OF WALLKILL — A proposed 250-unit apartment complex and shopping center could also make way for a promenade and the town’s second-largest park.
Owners of two properties at Route 211 and Tower Drive want to build three-story, garden-style apartment buildings, a 40,000-square foot retail space and a promenade walkway with small shops, said Joseph Distelburger, who is representing the property owners as the broker and developer of the site.
They have submitted a planned residential development application for the property, which would allow them to build residential components of the project in the currently commercially zoned district.
The property owners also plan to donate about 20 acres to the town for a park.
“It’s a win-win,” Distelburger said. “It gets the town all the green space they possibly could need, it gets them sidewalks and a promenade along (Route) 211 all the way from the residential component down to 211 where they can walk. It’s going to be a beautiful project when it’s done.”
Live, walk, shop and play
The proposed project became the “brainchild” of Distelburger and Town Supervisor Frank DenDanto, the developer said. Originally, he had approached the town to build a warehouse on the land.
DenDanto said he had expressed to Distelburger the hope of preserving some of the land for green space and a recreation area.
But knowing the town’s financial stresses with the COVID-19 pandemic, Distelburger said he looked for a way both the property owners and the town could benefit from a project that could afford the town “all the green space you want for free.”
Thus was bornthe idea of living or working near a walkway lined with coffee or gelato shops, for example, where one can grab an ice cream cone or a latte and sit in the grass with a picnic lunch or on a park bench.
The proposed apartments will have one or two bedrooms, and will be available for rent at market rate, Distelburger said. If the town approves of the project, he expects breaking ground as soon as the spring of 2022.
Several years ago, the property behind Hannaford Supermarket on Tower Drive housed a trailer park, the Town Board noted in a Jan. 27 work session. It has been vacant since. The 55-acre property has been listed on the market for just less than two years at $3.75 million.
Town Board members during the work session voiced concern over traffic congestion in the area where the apartments, shops and parks are proposed – specifically at the Tower Drive and Route 211 intersection. That is expected to come up in further discussions, many board members said.
The project is not yet on any public meeting agendas as of Friday afternoon.
MORE: Proposed Galleria apartments gets PRD approval
MORE: Neighbors concerned with overbuilding in Town of Wallkill
MORE: Supervisor DenDanto elected to represent Town of Wallkill
‘Green pathways’ on the horizon
Since taking office in January 2020, DenDanto has pushed the idea of making the town – a shopping hub of Orange County with the Galleria at Crystal Run and several strip malls – into a walkable area with green space and trails. He is looking to capitalize on the progress of the county’s Heritage Trail, which will in the coming months make its way to the City of Middletown.
“It is a residential component of the first phase of my ‘green pathway,'” DenDanto said of the project.
Another project, with a similar walkability priority, still in the works near the town’s train station, is an apartment complex proposed by Pyramid Management Group, which owns the Galleria mall. The town approved a PRD application in April 2020 for a proposed six-story, 250-apartment unit project at the corner of Smith Road and Galleria Drive. A public hearing for that project is scheduled for Wednesday evening’s Planning Board meeting.
The two projects are linked in that they promote the idea of moving through the town without the need to get in a car, DenDanto said.
“All these things are all tied together,” DenDanto said.
The idea is to have people be able to walk from Scotchtown to the grocery store or to the shopping centers or malls by foot.
Though residents in the past have been resistant to the idea of more growth in the town, DenDanto said there is a new need for it, given the number of people moving from New York City to the Mid Hudson amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published at Mon, 15 Feb 2021 11:02:56 +0000