Saturday, January 26, 2013

Abandoned Power Plant to Become Hotel, Convention Center

It has been nearly five decades since the Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers closed its doors, but plastics manufacturer Ron Shemesh has plans to transform this four-building complex on the Hudson River into a hotel and convention center. Senator Charles Schumer called the plan a “very high priority.” The $250 million project to convert the century-old brick buildings could be completed as soon as 2014, creating 1,800 construction jobs and 955 permanent ones. However, the project will be costly.

Glenwood POH, LLC, the consortium of developers behind the transformation, recently bought the property for $3 million and needs to raise around $155 million for the project.

In December, the Mid-Hudson Economic Development Council gave Mr. Shemesh a small economic boost with a $1 million grant to preserve the sprawling complex.

The Glenwood Power Plant site is situated directly on the Hudson River, adjacent to the Glenwood Metro-North station, in Yonkers and consists of more than 4 acres, of which 2.1 acres are on land and over 2 acres extend into the river. The site currently includes four vacant buildings, with a footprint of approximately 62,000 square feet.

The abandoned Yonkers Power Station of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, is a massive building which was constructed between 1904 and 1906 to hold electrical generators to provide third-rail power for its Hudson and
Harlem line trains. In 1936, the plant was sold to Con Edison, from which New York Central purchased the energy, finding it cheaper than to make it for itself. The plant doubled as a source of energy for Yonkers and the surrounding area.

The Yonkers Power Station was put on standby in the 1950s, and closed in the 1960s. The turbines and boilers have all been removed along with all other major machinery, though much remains to be seen inside.

The building was sold to a private party in the late 1970s and has sat idle and vacant since.

The power station remains a local landmark and in January 2008, the power station was named to the Preservation League’s Seven to Save list, designating it as one of the most endangered  buildings in the state in need of upholding.

Originally, however, developers believed the structure could not be salvaged and planned to demolish the building, turning the lot into residential units.

However, after a study showed that much of the building could be reused, Glenwood POH has designed a project centered on keeping the structure – and its two iconic smokestacks – intact.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer toured the crumbling Glenwood Power Plant on Wednesday, calling for millions of dollars in federal tax credits to spur its rehabilitation. Schumer called the $250 million project a “very high priority.”
"With increased federal support," he said, the century-old structure “can avoid the wrecking ball and help honor the city’s legacy by spurring development and creating jobs."
Congressman Eliot Engel, who has been working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development on acquiring grant money for the redevelopment project, says
“Transforming these derelict buildings into hotel, convention center, and community space will create jobs and economic development to transform the area. With this development, we will have, after 40 years of abandonment, a transformative space majestically located on the beautiful Hudson River. It’ll bring jobs to Yonkers and it’s the sort of thing that will have the ‘wow’ effect on the waterfront,” he said. “It’ll be spectacular.”
Despite the task ahead, the goal is to complete remediation in 2013, with construction expected to wrap up in May 2014, creating 1,800 construction jobs and 955 permanent ones, according to developers.

When finished, they envision a hotel and convention center that is an international destination, hosting celebrations and other entertainment.