Original Article



KINGSTON, N.Y. >> If mixed-use project known as The Kingstonian is built Uptown, the public benefits will be significant, according to the city’s Strategic Investment Plan.

But its developers are also expected to be the beneficiaries of millions in taxpayer dollars, thanks to the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) and other sources.

In fact, the bulk of $10 million DRI funding earmarked for several city projects will go to the Kingstonian proposal and for modernizing and enhancing nearby Dietz Memorial Stadium and the Andretta Pool.

Of the funding, $3.8 million will go toward The Kingstonian, a $48 million project that’s expected to include 132 residential units, 8,500 square feet of commercial space, a 34-room hotel and 420 parking spaces, of which 250 would be for public use.

The project has already garnered other state grants totaling $3 million.

The project is to be built at Fair and North Front streets Uptown, including on the site of the former Municipal Parking Garage. The project is being undertaken by JM Development Group LLC of New Windsor, in partnership with the Kingston-based Herzog Supply Co.

But, as of Friday, no plans had been submitted to the city’s Planning Office for Planning Board review.

The city’s Strategic Investment Plan, submitted to the state as part of the DRI review, says that there will be many public benefits reaped from The Kingstonian project.

“This project will transform a largely underutilized site at a prominent intersection in the Stockade Business District while also strengthening the market demand for other businesses nearby,” the plan says.

Additionally, public input has been favorable, it says.

“During the public engagement process, community members noted this project for its contribution which would increase the parking supply for businesses, tenants and residents,” the Strategic Investment Plan says. “There was support from the public on redeveloping the site and support for the public amenities being proposed such as the pedestrian plaza and walking bridge.”

The plan says that if the Kingstonian is built, it is expected to create 63 full-time jobs, “including 13 new jobs to operate the apartment complex and maintain the property, and 50 new tenant jobs, including retail management positions and retail and/or restaurant staff positions.”

The Kingstonian is also expected to affect other aspects of Uptown and the city as a whole.

“The project will bring new residents, employees, customers and visitors to the site, creating new market demand for the Stockade Business District and increasing tax revenues for Kingston,” the plan says

In 2003, similar points were made by officials about the New Jersey-based Teicher Organization proposal to build a 12-story, 214-unit condominium tower on the former garage site, along with commercial space and a new parking structure.

That plan, however, was met with strong objections in the community and ultimately was withdrawn.

Paul Kirby is a reporter for the Freeman, covering Kingston politics. He has been at the Freeman since August 1996.