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SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY-In front of a crowd of several hundred political and civic leaders, General Motors and Village of Sleepy Hollow officials announced on Wednesday that the automaker had selected Roseland Property Co. of Short Hills, NJ as its joint venture partner to redevelop its former assembly plant site here. The joint venture partners are calling the project Lighthouse Landing at Sleepy Hollow. While they have given the venture a name, specifics of the project have not been finalized.

Marshall B. Tycher, principal of Roseland, reported that the development will likely include: a combination of rental and condominium housing, senior housing, retail, office, a hotel/conference center and a marina. In addition, a portion of the 99-acre site will be devoted to open space and will provide access to the Hudson River, Tycher stressed.

However, the actual scope of the project, such as the total number of housing units and size of the hotel/conference center are still to be determined. Tycher added that the overall cost of development had also not been ascertained. although he projected it would definitely cost more than $100 million to complete.

Roseland’s Tycher said during a question and answer session, “I think realistically it is going to take us four to six months with a lot of public input to come up with a good basis of a plan.”

Sleepy Hollow Mayor Philip Zegarelli noted, “The development will benefit the community economically and aesthetically. The shared vision for the site includes a mixed-use development combining single and multi-unit housing, a conference center, commercial office space and retail.”

The mayor also revealed that he has met with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority about putting a train station for Sleepy Hollow at the GM property. The developer, the village and General Motors will be scheduling meetings soon to get input from the public and from environmental organizations such as Scenic Hudson on the project, Mayor Zegarelli said.

Matthew P. Cullen, general manager of GM’s Enterprise Activities Group, noted, “We will balance open green space with a sensitive development that will become an asset for this community. Working together with a broad range of organizations and individuals, this development can benefit the village, not only aesthetically, but with increased property values, additional tax base and updated infrastructure. Later, he asserted that, “Lighthouse Landing at Sleepy Hollow will be the signature development along the Hudson River.”

Cullen said that GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with Roseland to undertake the venture. Roseland is now engaged in a 90 day due diligence period. Roseland, which has $1 billion in real estate assets in the Northeast, is currently engaged in the $1.7 billion Port Imperial project, a mixed-use waterfront development in Weehawken and West New York, NJ. Thus far, the firm has completed 1,200 residential units of the 5,000 planned for the site.

General Motors General Director Worldwide Real Estate David Robson said that it will be a partner in the “Lighthouse Landing at Sleepy Hollow,” but will not provide any financial support and will “look to exit the property over a period of years” after the development has been completed. Neither Robson or Roseland officials would reveal any financial details on the joint venture arrangement.

The announcement of the Lighthouse Landing at Sleepy Hollow comes after almost two years of delays regarding the redevelopment of the site. General Motors shut down the plant almost five years ago in 1996 and completed demolition of the assembly plant and other existing buildings on the property in 1999. The automaker had originally scheduled an October 1999 release date of its redevelopment plans for the property.

GM’s Robson confirmed that the automaker had held discussions with the Trump Organization of New York City about redeveloping the property. Real estate sources indicated Collins Enterprises of Greenwich, CT was also in the running for the job. Officials with Roseland said that it began discussions with GM about six to eight months ago.

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