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SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY-In a ceremony held at the former site of the General Motors Assembly Plant here, the Village of Sleepy Hollow and the automaker settled all litigation and are now moving forward with a major mixed use project called Lighthouse Landing at Sleepy Hollow.

Plans for the 98-acre site on the Hudson River shoreline stalled last year when a five-year agreement between General Motors and the village ran out. In late 2001, the village informed GM that it planned to exercise its option and acquire the property. The automaker, which closed down the storied assembly plant in 1996, filed legal action to block the property takeover.

The agreement signed between the two parties on Wednesday releases the village’s option on the property. However, Sleepy Hollow Mayor Philip Zegarelli said that the new agreement calls for GM and its development partner Roseland Property Co. of Short Hills, N.J. to complete the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process in three years. The deal also includes a $2 million payment by GM to the village to be paid in the next three years. Also, when the SEQRA process is completed, the property will return to the tax rolls. Currently, GM is paying $150,000 in taxes per year on the property based on a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement.

Mayor Zegarelli termed the deal, “a landmark agreement for a landmark project – one that the people of Sleepy Hollow will be willing participants and partners with GM and Roseland Property Company.”

Also, an equity partner on the Lighthouse Landing at Sleepy Hollow venture is Prudential Insurance Co. Although concrete details on the venture have not been finalized, Mayor Zegarelli says the development will include rental apartments, condominiums, senior citizen housing, retail, a hotel/conference center, flex office space and a parking garage.

Roseland Property officials say that they will submit an informal proposal for public discussion later this year. The master plan for the development is being prepared and is expected to be officially released by late 2002 or early 2003. As much as 25 acres to 30 acres of the former General Motors site will be devoted to open space that will provide direct public access to the Hudson River, the mayor adds.

Governor George Pataki and a host of state and local dignitaries attended the agreement signing ceremony.

“The GM-Sleepy Hollow agreement sets the stage for a vibrant and revitalized Hudson River waterfront, alive with new homes, new businesses and new cultural venues,” Governor Pataki said. “The Lighthouse Landing at Sleepy Hollow will not only enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the majestic Hudson River, it will also provide a boost to the local economy while strengthening the Village’s finances.

Mark Sloan, manager of Worldwide Real Estate for General Motors, comments, “We are pleased to have everyone back on the same page and in agreement that Lighthouse Landing at Sleepy Hollow will be a great development for the region, and the sooner the better.”

Marshall B. Tycher, a partner with Roseland Property Co., says that the total scope of the project has yet to be determined, but adds the development will cost “hundreds of millions dollars” to complete.

The former General Motors plant, which has since been demolished, was originally built in 1899 for the production of Walker Steamers. GM purchased the plant in 1914 and began producing Chevrolet cars and trucks the following year. At the time of its demise, the facility was building minivans for the Chevrolet division of GM.

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