Poughkeepsie poised to sell parking lot


Architect’s rendering of Crannell Square

POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie sought proposals earlier
this fall for plans for the parking lot at the intersection of Catharine
and Mill Streets and received a single response from one well-known developer.

The parking lot is a 1.22 acre parcel owned by the city that is part of
a much larger parking lot that extends from North Hamilton Street to Catharine
Street along the westbound arterial. The Kearney Realty and Development
Group has submitted plans to purchase the parcel from the city and develop
“Crannell Square” on the site. The name of the development is
a nod to the city’s former Crannell Street which has been reduced to an
alley next to The Chance Theater. According to Vice-president Sean Kearney,
the project is an “innovative mixed-income, or mixed-income and mixed-use

The plans as submitted call for the construction of one building that
will have frontage on both Mill and Catharine Streets. Kearney says that
the design of the building is consistent with city’s “Poughkeepsie
Innovation District,” which has yet to be approved by the common

By dedicating the first-floor of the project to retail, Kearney plans
to work with Green’s Natural Foods for a 5,000 to 10,000 square foot retail
store that will draw more people to the area for the company’s specialty
natural/organic groceries and dietary supplements. The developer already
has a working relationship with Green’s including a planned small retail
front at the almost completed Queen City Lofts on Main Street, which is
also being developed by the Kearney Group. Green’s currently operates
retail stores in Somers, Briarcliff Manor, Eastchester, Mount Kisco and
Yorktown Heights.

In addition to the retail space at Crannell Square, plans call for apartments
on the second, third and fourth floors. Original plans called for one-
and two-bedroom units but at a presentation to the common council, Alderwoman
Natasha Cherry asked if it was possible to include some three-bedroom
apartments to accommodate larger families and the developer agreed.

Council President Ann Finney said that she is prepared to use “customized”
zoning as opposed to waiting for the Innovation District legislation to
be passed to allow for maximum flexibility for Kearney to develop the

In addition to zoning changes, Finney said that several other steps are
needed before construction can begin including finalizing an appraisal
of the property, agreeing to terms of sale between the city and Kearney
and the approval of the common council on all of the steps. Finney said
via email that “The council is in full support of the proposal as
presented to them.”

According to Sean Kearney, the plans as submitted call for 75 apartments
catering to various income levels in a building designed to blend in with
the historic architecture of the neighborhood.

The developer plans to use cobblestones to create a pedestrian plaza,
complete with benches and landscaping that will follow the original path
of Crannell Street. Kearney said the design “will turn an unattractive
parking lot, which is devoid of pedestrians, to an aesthetically pleasing
streetscape with a pedestrian plaza as a focal point that will encourage
increased levels of pedestrian activity” to the area, including Main
The developer said that the apartments and planned retail store will not
draw foot traffic away from Main Street but instead will draw more people
to the area. The Kearney Group has developed several mixed-income/mixed-use
developments including properties in East Fishkill, Beacon, Peekskill
and Somers.

One of the goals of the Poughkeepsie Innovation District, according to
Mayor Robert Rolison is “to draw more employees who work in Poughkeepsie
to live in the area and affordable housing like the ones proposed by Kearney
help us to achieve that goal”. The mayor said that if the common
council passes the Poughkeepsie Innovation District in a timely fashion,
this project could be completed by 2023.