Gloversville Planning Board approves site plan for $20M project

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Ken Kearney, owner of the Kearney Reality Group, discusses the site plan for the proposed Glove City Lofts artists’ housing project at 52 Church St. in front of the Gloversville Planning Board the night of Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville City Planning Board gave site plan approval to the Kearney Realty Group’s proposed $20 million “Glove City Lofts” 75-unit “artist housing” at 51 Church St. following a public hearing on Tuesday night.

Tanyalynnette Grimes, the chief executive officer of Micropolis Development Group, was the only person to speak during the public hearing. She questioned whether Glove City Lofts, if built, would be used for “low-income housing” or “section-8” housing.

“Is there any clarifications [of the income levels of the prospective tenants of the building] in the site plans for it, since it is in a historic overlay district, and in regards to the businesses downtown?” she asked.

Fulton County Planner Sean Geraghty, who advises the City Planning Board, said Kearney’s site plan application does include clarification about the income qualifications of prospective tenants.

“If you want to come in and review the application you’re more than welcome to do that. You can do that here at the city or I have a copy at the County Planning Department,” Geraghty said. “Typically, public hearings aren’t question and answer sessions. They’re really an opportunity for the public to tell the Planning Board something they don’t know about the application, but yes the applicants have been very thorough in terms of explaining the types of tenants they will have in these buildings, and how they will qualify.”

Ken Kearney, owner of the Kearney Realty Group, has said his company will be applying for about $1.1 million worth of federal income-based housing tax credits awarded by the New York State office of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) in order to build the Glove City Lofts complex.

Kearney explained the income rules required by the federal tax credit program being used to help finance the project back in October. He said he anticipated income-contingent 1-bedroom apartment units will cost approximately $665 in rent per month while the income-contingent 2-bedroom units will be about $775. He said the ‘middle-income’ units will have higher rents, possibly up to 20% more. He said the federal tax credit program wants none of the renters paying more than 30% of their income toward rent.

After the public hearing, Kearney’s developer Parkview Development & Construction requested the Gloversville City Planning Board waive the city’s six-month requirement to begin construction after site-plan approval, and instead extend it to 18 months, in order to give the company enough time to  obtain the funding necessary to build the complex without having to come back to the Planning Board repeatedly for extensions.

The consensus of the Planning Board agreed to the time extension and Planning Board Chairman Geoffrey Peck asked that the 18-month time limit be entered into the minutes.

Following the hearing, Kearney said Glove City Lofts now has all of the local approvals it needs to build the project, including the correct zoning.

In July it was revealed during a Planning Board meeting that the 3-acre lot at 51 Church St. was rezoned from commercial into a parcel zoned for manufacturing in 2015. The zoning problem presented a potential problem for the major project, but city officials have since discovered that zoning was changed back in 2018.

Peck said the rezoning in 2018 did not happen in the normal way, with the Common Council bypassing review by the city Planning Board.
“They just didn’t go through all of the procedures,” Geraghty added.

“We made a note in the minutes of the meeting last month [in November] that [the rezoning of 51 Church St.] had not been brought before the Planning Board as per standard procedure, but the statute of limitations had run out, so it had become law,” Peck said.

The Glove City Lofts project also applied for $1 million as part of Gloversville’s application for the 2021 $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Tuesday night Kearney said he’s hopeful Gloversville will win the DRI contest for the Mohawk Valley, which he believes will be announced soon.

“If the DRI comes to fruition, if the city is successful in that, the other two [apartment building projects from my company that received DRI funding in other cities] in the Mohawk Valley, Oneonta and Rome … they were both priority projects in those [successful] DRI plans,” Kearney said. “[Those DRI grant awards] brought those projects up to the top for consideration from HCR [for the federal tax credits]. That’s the hope here.”

Kearney has said in the past that the project in Gloversville could be delayed by a year if Gloversville does not receive the DRI, but Tuesday night he said he believes it will win it.

“I’ve never been as optimistic about a DRI plan as I am with this one,” he said.

By Jason Subik

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