DeLaval project update gets warm reception from Poughkeepsie Council

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Plans to turn the DeLaval industrial site on the Poughkeepsie waterfront into a viable residential and retail project first surfaced a dozen years ago.
Developer Joe Bonura is back, with a new vision for the project, and city council members are impressed.
One thing clearly working in Bonura’s favor is the extent of what he is planning to do, while leaving the city largely in control of the property.  That would come via a 99-year lease, part of the original proposal, rather than a purchase of the site.
“Instead of selling the property, the city gets to maintain control over these aspects, and that’s the whole reason we negotiated this lease way back when,” Bonura told the council.
Those ‘aspects’ include in particular, public access to the riverfront, on facilities included in the project at Bonura’s expense.
What has changed is the nature of the project and that is driven by the economy, including the recession of a few years ago.  The original concept was for a mixed use of residential, retail and office. 
What won’t work now, Bonura said, is more office space in a city that has a lot of empty offices.
“Change the use so the project can move forward.  Otherwise, you can’t build it.  What was proposed ten years ago can’t be built; can’t be built by me and can’t be built by anyone who wants to make money, or at least even break even.  They lose.”
What’s on the table now for the 14 acres is a mix of mostly market rate residential, with 60 units, and some retail, but a lot of that will depend on a sense of what people want.
“We want to build what’s going to work. There’s no sense in building something that’s at odds with what people want, otherwise, it’s not going to be received well.  So, I have no preconceived notion of what anything is going to look like on the Pier 14 spread yet at all.”
Bonura touted the proximity to the river, the train station, and shopping within walking distance. 
Council Republican Minority Leader Lee David Klein called Bonura’s
long-standing commitment to the City of Poughkeepsie “exemplary.”
“You seek to maintain a real partnership between what you do and what the city is looking to do,” Klein said.
Chairman Christopher Petsas, a Democrat, said just about everything about this project seems to work.
“An approved waterfront benefits every resident of the city in terms of bringing jobs to our city, whether it be the jobs that businesses open, whether it be the construction jobs,” Petsas said.  “An approved waterfront, if done right, will bring new green space to our city, new parks, new tax revenue, new recreational activities.  So, I think that this project encompasses all that.”
Bonura said additional approvals aren’t needed for the site because he is not changing anything significant in the proposed use.  He said if the Planning Board and Industrial Development Agency concur, he could break ground perhaps later this year.