GreenburghArdsleyEdgemont Daily Voice

Follow Like

Greenburgh Pursues Ferncliff Despite County Opposition

The Greenburgh Town Board has received six responses to its request for proposals to develop the WestHELP property.
The Greenburgh Town Board has received six responses to its request for proposals to develop the WestHELP property. Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Despite the Westchester County Board of Legislators voting against Ferncliff Manor as a viable developer for the WestHELP property, the Greenburgh Town Board has still included Ferncliff on its list of respondents to its request for proposals.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said he doesn't want to wait any longer to lease the site, and Ferncliff, which is looking for a facility to provide schooling and housing for children with developmental disabilities, is still the town's best option because it is promising $500,000 to the town every year.

County legislators have expressed opposition toward Ferncliff's using the six-acre site, which sits at the Knollwood Gate entrance to Westchester Community College, because it would not provide affordable housing to the public — as promised for that particular site.

Ferncliff also plans to knock down the existing buildings, which are only 20 years old and which Mount Vernon planning consultant Richard Hyman, who oversaw a similar housing project in Mount Vernon that is still in use today, said would be a waste of a good building.

"It's a facility worth keeping that has a lot of useful life," Hyman said. "To tear down such units is a mistake."

Greenburgh has 19 years left under its lease of the property from the county. County Legislator Michael Smith (R-Valhalla), who lives near the property, has been the only legislator to vocally support leasing to Ferncliff , which is currently based in Yonkers.

The board also laid out the five other respondents to the request for proposals:

  • Group MRH LLC and The Richman Group Affordable Housing Organization , which offered $100,000 per year on a 20-year lease to provide affordable rental housing.
  • HarborView Properties , which offered $125,000 to $165,000 per year on a 20-year lease to provide affordable housing to 20 percent of units.
  • Marathon Development Group , offering a $200,000 initial payment and a lump sum of $2 million at the 20-year contract closing to provide affordable senior housing, with a preference for veterans.
  • Community Housing Innovations , which offered $350,000 per year on a 20-year lease for affordable senior housing. It would also open the administration building for community use, such as for the relocation of the Lois Bronz Children's Center.
  • Westhab Inc. , offering $600,000 upfront and $200,000 per year on a 52-year, three-party lease between the town and the county to provide affordable housing.

Feiner has set Dec. 20 as the deadline to choose the site's developer, because the lease will affect the town's 2013 budget.