Archive for April 5th, 2009

I am greatly disappointed by the Recorder editorial section this morning. The public deserves much better than this misrepresentation of the facts.

Bridge Street reconstruction has not been held up by planned rehabilitation of the Chalmers building.

– Plans for Bridge Street reconstruction were submitted to DOT and meetings were held with their representatives, our engineer and Saratoga Associates last month. Because of concerns expressed by DOT, coupled with a need for a comprehensive approach to burying the utilities, we are planning a phased reconstruction of the street, beginning this year with actual digging and repaving of the street and new curbing. The second phase will cover right of ways (sidewalk, lighting, etc.)

– Grant writer Nick Zabawsky had submitted the paperwork for the funding extension last year and was approved months ago.

– Anyone, especially aldermen, expressing a desire to review documentation regarding this project have been provided such.

– Uri Kaufman has kept up steady contact with the City in regard to his project and has met every benchmark stipulated in the option agreement. Preliminary studies, testing, appraisals, architectural design work, market studies, and site plan reviews have all been conducted over the past year. The HUD 221 (d)(4) program, the mortgage insurance mechanism used successfully at Harmony Mills, has been held up because of the global financial upheaval. That said, Mr. Kaufman remains optimistic and expects this delay at HUD Buffalo to be lifted in the near future.

– Kaufman may extend the Chalmers option agreement for $50,000 in May.

– The City has given the developer the right of first refusal. However, the right of first refusal is based on an end use which constitutes the highest and best use for the site (180 upscale residential units) and best serves the needs of the City of Amsterdam, given the articulated strategy for Via Ponte, the pedestrian bridge, the waterfront and a revitalized downtown.

If the Recorder “really wants to know what’s happening with the Chalmers building”, they only need to ask. We are more than happy to supply them with the truth.

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