The met with representatives from and Mill Creek Residential Trust for a workshop Monday night on how to move forward with the former site.
The main focus of the information Starwood and Mill Creek brought to the table was regarding taxes. The proposed plan is currently set at a 5-year build time consisting of two phases, each phase lasting roughly two years and consisting of 410 of the total 820 proposed residential units. A presentation of preliminary tax estimates for the United Hospital site from the two groups generated a tax of:
- $507,000 in the 2013-14 year
- $820,000 in year 3 of the build
- $1,771,938 by year 5
“We’re kind of disappointed,” said Trustee Savero Terenzi. “They didn’t come to the table with anything but taxes, which just covers the cost of doing business. Based on that, it’s a non-starter at this point. They are really not generating anything to get excited about. Maybe they will come up with something creative but I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”
Mill Creek and Starwood also presented information concerning the cost versus revenue for the Port Chester School District. The local analysis data Mill Creek and Starwood are using shows a growth of 2.8 students per 100 units. By the end of the project, there would be 23 students (2.8x820 = 22.96) added to the school district. Based on the 2010/2011 budget, the incremental cost per student is $14,568, the estimated 23 students added to the district would total a cost of $334,481 to the schools.
Local residents and village officials have voice extreme concerns about any development in Port Chester that would add a large number of new students to already packed local schools.
According to the Starwood plan, after completion, the 820 units would generate a total of $1,091,043 in school tax revenue, which nets out at about $756,562. However, Starwood is currently paying $303,098 annually on the vacant United Hospital site. The difference between the current tax paid and the tax paid on a complex with 820 new apartments is $453,464.
“The financials were underwhelming to me personally,” said Mayor Dennis Pilla. “There is a balancing act that we need to be mindful of here. If one of the kids needs special education it’s going to cost another $100,000.”
Pilla was not alone in feeling that the proposal was underwhelming.Terenzi was far from satisfied with the latest proposal update.
“The bottom line is the taxes that they’re offer are nowhere near what the property is worth,” said Terenzi. “The finances don’t sell the project. They are backing into numbers that they need to hit for it to make sense for them. Unfortunately, if this is their final offer and their best offer, it’s going to stay that way for a long time.”
Starwood and Mill Creek also pointed out that the project is expected to generate 1,974 total full-time jobs. 1,327 direct construction jobs over the planned 5-year build time, 640 jobs in “supporting industries” and 90 full-time jobs during operation.
“That’s all just a smokescreen. The jobs they are suggesting would just be an economic benefit for the short term,” added Terenzi.
The mayor was again skeptical when discussing the 640 projected jobs in “supporting industries.”
“I need to have my planning experts look into that but to me that seems like a lot of jobs,” said Pilla.
Starwood and Mill Creek both had no comment regarding the evening’s proceedings siting that they needed to “regroup” before speaking with anyone “after what just happened in there.”
Read more about the plan for the old United Hospital site here: