CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Developer Stephen Oder of Soder Real Estate Equities and his attorney, David Steinmetz, presented their latest site plan for the Legionaries of Christ site to the New Castle Town Board on Tuesday night in Town Hall with the hope that it could officially begin sooner rather than later.
However, with changes to the town’s Master Plan and protocol on “floating zones” likely needed for the plan to work, Oder and Steinmetz could be looking at a lengthier process than they desire.
In fact, the process to “get the ball rolling” has already dragged on longer than the two would have preferred, according to Steinmetz.
The initial plan, unveiled in September, included a 30-room hotel, a spa and 66 condominiums on the 97-acre site, which is at 773 Armonk Road. The second version, presented in October, offered 80 housing units, but scratched the hotel and spa. That plan was met with concern from the Town Board in regard to its visual impact on neighboring streets.
The third rendering included 54 condominiums, 30 hotel rooms, a spa and a restaurant . It also eliminated four new buildings and instead centered on a reuse of the current building.
Tuesday night’s latest rendition, which is now dubbed “The Spa At New Castle,” was nearly identical to the third version, which was met with mostly positive feedback from the board in January.
The most notable changes were a switch of four rooms, as the plan now includes 50 condominiums and 34 hotel rooms. It also includes 200 parking spaces, more than half of which will be covered, according to Steinmetz.
The plan continues to prioritize the majority of the historic existing building.
“We are trying to preserve 80 percent of the current site,” said Steinmetz. “We think this is a tremendous opportunity for a creative, unique project for the town.”
Oder and Steinmetz also noted the concept is most conducive to “empty nesters.”
“Our intent is an empty nester project,” said Oder. “This is for someone who sold their house but still wants real rooms—such as a master bedroom, a full kitchen and a living room. The design will aim to mimic what their house is without the kids.”
Although Oder and Steinmetz are eager to move forward with this version of the site plan and begin the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process, the concept presents a handful of obstacles.
Its design of being both hotel and Multifamily Planned Development zone is a unique mix and could best solved by a “floating zone”—something the town’s current Master Plan does not cater to.
The town board also needs to decide whether it or the planning board will be the lead agency for the project. Either way, Oder and Steinmetz are confident that whoever takes the reigns will be doing so with the current plan.
“This is the plan,” said Oder. “This is what works.”
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