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Hudson Business Coalition’s Statement on the Columbia County Board of Supervisor’s Plans to Redevelop 11 Warren St.

11 Warren St- Hudson, NY
11 Warren St. in March 2024

The plans from the Columbia County Board of Supervisors that are currently in the works for 11 Warren St. would adversely affect the residents of Hudson, Columbia County, and our local economy for decades to come. Read our position here, and learn more about the issue on our website at: https://hudsonbusiness.org/11warren/

The current plans proposed by the Columbia County Board of Supervisors for the property at 11 Warren St. are misguided and backward looking, and should they be allowed to proceed, will adversely affect the residents of Hudson, Columbia County, and our local economy for decades to come. The Board reached its decision without any prior public input sessions or consideration of Hudson’s business community, and failed to consider Hudson’s vibrant and ever-evolving downtown district or its waterfront redevelopment plans.

Last year, the Board of Supervisors entered into a contract to buy the property at 11 Warren St. from its then-owner, the Galvan Foundation, for over $3.3 million. Since then, the County’s elected leaders have indicated their plans to move several offices and departments— including the Board of Elections, Public Defender, Probation Department, and District Attorney— from their current locations in Hudson to the building at 11 Warren when the property is renovated. Those renovations will cost an additional $5.5 million.

These departments provide vital services to the residents of Hudson and Columbia County, and both the public and employees of each of those offices deserve a place that is safe, modern, and suited to each one’s particular functions. 

But moving these offices to 11 Warren St. will result in a cost that will be borne by all of Columbia County’s residents for years to come. 

The property at 11 Warren is an unfortunate relic of Hudson’s urban renewal period. Where once stood an entire block of handsome 19th-century buildings, home to residents and businesses, there is now little more than a blighted and ill-fated single-story remnant of a failed attempt to compete with the strip malls of Fairview Avenue during the 1970s. Since its construction nearly a half-century ago, the benefits of the building at 11 Warren St. have never been fully realized, because no one has ever developed the property to its full potential.

The lot where 11 Warren St. is situated is among the most desirable properties in Hudson. It is steps from the newly-rehabbed Promenade Hill Park, which overlooks the Hudson river and provides stunning views of the Catskill mountains. It’s the first block of Warren St. experienced by thousands of yearly visitors to Hudson via AMTRAK. The County’s plans, as currently proposed, would continue to leave this entire block of Warren St. essentially dark outside the hours of 9am-5pm from Monday through Friday, and totally desolate on weekends and holidays. If they proceed, the County will likely occupy the property with these offices for decades, tying up any other potential uses for it. This would also mean keeping it off the tax rolls, leaving residents having to bear that additional tax burden.

Instead, the property at 11 Warren St. should be fully utilized for commercial and residential purposes. There is potential to turn it into something much better than what’s now being proposed. Just three years ago, when it still owned the property, the Galvan Foundation released its own plans to redevelop it for mixed-use. Its plans at the time included the construction of over 60 apartment units, three retail units, and a restaurant— providing much needed housing for those living or wishing to move here, as well as furthering the economic resurgence of Hudson. Those plans were ultimately scuttled, but a return to that kind of planning and development is exactly what is now needed.

Most recently, the 11 Warren St. building was home to the Hudson Youth Clubhouse, an afterschool program for our City’s young people. Due to the sale of the property, that program is now displaced. Better planning and development within Hudson would generate sales tax and property tax revenues that will help ensure funding for organizations exactly like this one— so that they could have a permanent home within Hudson and provide desirable programs for our youth.

The businesses of Hudson— our myriad retailers, restaurants, performing arts venues, and lodging providers— generate considerable sales tax that’s distributed to all municipalities in Columbia County. A study presented recently from the New York State Tourism Industry Association makes clear that visitors to Columbia County spent over $230 million at restaurants, retailers, lodging businesses, arts and cultural venues, and those offering outdoor recreation.1 These revenues help offset potential property tax increases for our residents, and fund vital local programs and initiatives, like the aforementioned afterschool program.

Abandoning its current plans for this property, the Board of Supervisors could instead return us to sound economic development, civic pride, and positive long-term planning for our City and County. The “11 Warren St. Action Group”— a small cadre of concerned Hudson residents working to present better alternatives— just published a report that inventories over a dozen other properties within Hudson that are already owned by the County. In addition, the report identifies and analyzes four scenarios for properties in Hudson, as well as in Greenport’s commercial districts, that would be far better suited to the County’s purpose. The combined properties already in the County’s holdings include over 250,000 square feet of building space and provide a total of 200,000 square feet of parking, equating to about 450 parking spaces. These scenarios would result in a savings of up to $4.9 million— more than half of the proposed $8.9 million total cost for 11 Warren St. The County should give serious consideration to one or more of these alternatives. 

The Supervisors still have the opportunity to do the right thing for the citizens of Hudson and Columbia County if they quickly change course. Working in partnership with local government, civic organizations, private development partners and economic development agencies, we can all work to chart a brighter future for 11 Warren St., and our community as a whole.

The 11 Warren St. Action Group has drafted and circulated a petition on behalf of our County’s residents that’s already garnered over 700 signatures from individuals expressing their opposition to what is being proposed by the Board of Supervisors. Their well-documented report inventories all of the County-owned property in Hudson and offers clear and actionable alternatives to the Board of Supervisors— we encourage everyone concerned about this issue to read it, and to make their thoughts known at the next Board of Supervisors Space Utilization Committee Meeting on May 22. 

To learn more, read the Action Group findings, and to sign that citizen petition, we urge everyone to visit hudsonbusiness.org/11warren

1) https://hudsonbusiness.org/hudson-business-coalition-hudson-development-corp-lets-talk-business-session-2-tourism-bob-provost-video