Sale of Kaz site on pause

The Kaz site deal has been signed by the Hudson Development Corporation, but HDC has not disclosed the identity of the buyer. File photo

HUDSON — After 10 years, the Hudson Development Corporation signed off on the sale of the Montgomery Street property known as the Kaz site Wednesday.

The sale remains pending so the HDC cannot identify the buyer or the sale price of the property.

Board president Robert Rasner said he sees “no reason” that the buyer won’t sign the contract of sale once it is sent over as they’ve reached an agreement on contract language, terms and conditions.

“(The) completion of this transaction will have placed five acres valued at $3 million onto the city’s tax rolls. Every citizen should applaud this, the mayor should award the Key to the City — it’s a huge thing,” Rasner said.

Board member Steve Dunn said the contract is “tightly written.”

The measure permitting Rasner to sign the deal on behalf of the board was met with a round of applause from board members.

The deal will be finalized within 10 business days of court approval as the sale comprises a substantial number of HDC assets. While it remains unclear what the buyer intends to do with the land, Rasner said they have “plans and dreams for a new Hudson neighborhood.” The buyer will have to present ideas to the planning, zoning and code enforcement boards, and Rasner asked for the boards to give the forthcoming proposals “a fair shake.”

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask those bodies to look carefully and fully at those proposals and to keep in mind, not to decide or to drag out a decision. As we have seen recently for a decision goes on for years, is in fact to decide — it hinders business,” Rasner said.

The Hudson Development Corporation voted unanimously June 1 to accept a letter of intent to sell the Kaz site to an unnamed developer, and at the time, Rasner said the offer is greater than the recent $2.3 million appraisal.

Rasner said in a statement at the time that the sale will be one of the largest real estate transfers in Hudson in recent years. The developer forecasts an approximate $30 million investment.

The property has $487,160 of Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds attached to it, dedicated to the demolition of the site’s warehouse to make way for mixed-use transit-oriented development such as housing for students and young professionals, a job readiness pipeline program and community college programming, according to the state-issued award.

The presumptive buyer is planning to use the grant money and has been in contact with Empire State Development, Rasner said.

“Every single buyer we’ve ever talked with will talk about mixed-use development, which means they would put some housing on the property, not cover the property entirely with housing, but it would be fair to say they are developing a new neighborhood and the amenities and services to go with a neighborhood,” Rasner said Wednesday.

The presumptive buyer has done positive work in the city and will not be a stranger to the public, Rasner said at the time.

The 3.7-acre Montgomery Street property where the Kaz manufacturing warehouses used to operate has been off the tax rolls since the board acquired it in a Dec. 3, 2010, arrangement with the city and former owner Lawrence Katzman. Katzman received a tax credit for the $900,000 appraised value of the property at the time and HDC repaid $38,000 in back taxes.

The board purchased an additional .86-acre from New York Central Lines-7 of CSX Transportation for $175,000 on Oct. 30, 2019, to provide Front Street access to the property, completing the 4.56 acre 15-18 Montgomery St. property, or the Kaz site.

The board had renewed its search for developers in January despite holding the property since 2010. In 2017, the board didn’t like proposed projects for the site, Branda Maholtz, executive director of HDC, said in January. In 2018, the community got more involved and disagreement stalled development.

Three firms proposed different arrangements for building on the property, Rasner said at the time.

“Those proposals were met with resistance from members of the community, some for valid reasons, some for reasons that were difficult to understand, but they were met with strong opposition, strong enough that at the time, the HDC board decided not to proceed,” Rasner said. “So then we sit there with almost 5 acres of developable land, very valuable land, and nothing happening to it.”

Maholtz said Wednesday the board accomplished what people a few years ago said was “impossible” and thanked members for their work on this “important day.”

“Our own journey that we had to get to the sale of Kaz has not been easy, and as a champion of Hudson and working with you all for so long, I want nothing more than progress and what is progress but change?” Maholtz said. “And that’s the only thing that we can count on in Hudson is that things will change,” she said.

Maholtz said the ultimate goal of HDC is to help the community.

“With this deal behind us and some resources to back us up, HDC is now positioned to help than ever,” Maholtz said. “No, we’re not handing out money yet. But we’re asking questions. We’re going to listen and expect all of your involvement and honesty to drive and develop and support anything and everything from programming to grants, small business support that encourages a high quality of life that’s economically healthy for our town.”

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