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BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY-Claiming that escalating construction costs made the project too expensive, Classic Residence by Hyatt reports it has withdrawn its plans for a $350-million continuing care retirement community at the former King’s College here.In a prepared announcement, the Chicago-based firm states, “The company’s decision to withdraw its development plans was in response to dramatically escalating construction costs in New York that could not be mitigated despite promising demand for the CCRC product.”

“We are deeply disappointed to announce we are withdrawing our development plans for Briarcliff Manor,” states Randal J. Richardson, president, Classic Residence by Hyatt. The plan called for a 315-unit CCRC facility as well as some villas and a care center.

In September 2004, Classic Residence by Hyatt signed an agreement with Barrington Ventures to purchase the 59-acre former college site. Meg Ostrom, vice president of sales and marketing for Classic Residence by Hyatt, says the firm has decided not to exercise the options to purchase the site. At the time of the land purchase agreement a few years ago, company officials said initial calculations put the cost of the project at about $350 million.

In June of this year, Classic Residence by Hyatt opened an information center at the site and had taken deposits from interested seniors. Those deposits will now be returned, Ostrom notes. She says that initial inquiries about the project were “very promising.”

“We were facing [construction] costs that were escalating dramatically,” Ostrom says. “As we were looking at the costs it became impossible to continue.” Ostrom would not provide details on the extent of the construction costs increases for the project, but notes that the firm went back to the market a number of times to try and obtain better pricing.

The property was the home to King’s College until the campus was shut down in 1994. Barrington Ventures had proposed to develop a 315-unit CCRC of its own called the Garlands of Briarcliff Manor on the property. The firm obtained a special use permit to develop the senior retirement community at the property and also received approval to demolish the buildings on the campus. Demolition was completed in 2003. Officials at Barrington Ventures, based in Barrington, IL, could not be reached for comment at deadline on the decision by Classic Residence by Hyatt not to purchase the property or what it now plans to do with the site.

The project would have been Classic Residence by Hyatt’s first CCRC in New York State. The firm does operate a senior rental Classic Residence by Hyatt in Yonkers.

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