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YONKERS-City officials hailed the beginning of construction on the much anticipated Hudson Park multi-family development on the city’s waterfront as the “crown jewel” of its ongoing waterfront revitalization effort.

Yonkers Deputy Mayor Philip Amicone noted that the city had been trying to initiate waterfront redevelopment projects since the late 1950s, but for one reason or another, those ventures never progressed much past the discussion stage. Amicone pointed to the view of the Palisades across the Hudson River from the project site and said, “We liked the view so much we’re keeping it.” He later added that the Hudson Park development is “another major step in the redevelopment of the city.”

The $60 million Hudson Park project will involve the development of 266-rental apartment units, 20,000 sf of convenience retail, restaurants and office space well as parking for more than 300 cars. The project is being developed by Collins Enterprises of Stamford, CT. Collins on Oct. 23 reported that it had formed an equity joint venture with Denver-based Simpson Housing LP on the Hudson Park development.

Arthur Collins, president and chief executive officer of Collins Enterprises, notes that the project will not only benefit the city of Yonkers, but “it will address the fundamental shortage of new, high quality, well located housing in New York and along the Hudson River waterfront.” He adds, “We are the first residential developers to break ground in downtown Yonkers in 30 years. By the time these apartments are complete, there will be no better place to live than the Yonkers Hudson riverfront.”

Yonkers Mayor John Spencer noted that nearby construction is proceeding on the city’s new Public Library/Board of Education building and a host of other public and private development ventures in the downtown and waterfront districts. “People are building in our city for the first time in decades,” the mayor noted. In terms of the city’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the waterfront, he said, “This is going to be the most beautiful waterfront on the Hudson River.”

He was also bullish on the market reaction to the Hudson Park venture. “We are very confident that this project will strike a positive chord with residents up and down the Hudson River and the homes that will result will be one of the central elements in the creation of a newly revitalized downtown and waterfront that every citizen of Yonkers can enjoy.”

Ned Sullivan, executive director of Scenic Hudson, also attended the press conference and noted that the Hudson Park venture would help protect the Yonkers waterfront. More than 10 years ago, the environmental organization successfully fought the development of Pierpointe on Hudson, which would have featured six, 38-story high rise residential towers at the Hudson Park site. Scenic Hudson later obtained a conservation easement on 25 acres from the developer and the city later acquired title on the waterfront property. The highest point of the Hudson Park development will span just eight stories.

Speaking of the failed Pierpointe on Hudson project, Sullivan said, “This would have been a permanent concrete wall that would have blocked the views of the Hudson River forever.”

Nearby on the Yonkers waterfront, the city is working on establishing a $15 million Esplanade that will provide citizens access to the Hudson River.

Collins officials noted that construction on Hudson Park at Yonkers will begin as soon as sufficient access can be afforded to the 16-acre site. Currently, the city of Yonkers is undertaking infrastructure improvements in and around the development. Company officials say that construction on Hudson Park should be completed by mid to late 2003.

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