Student Housing Approval In Final Stages

Student residences for Hudson Valley are close to becoming a reality after over a year of proposals, studies, and public hearings,. A public hearing with the Troy Planning Commission is scheduled for Sep. 11th at 6 p.m. in City Hall, after which a construction timeline will start to take form if approved.

“Residence halls for community colleges have been on the rise in recent years. Hudson Valley has always felt that if we would develop student residences we’d have to find the right fit,” said Dennis Kennedy, Hudson Valley Community College director of Communications and Marketing.

The residences would be on the corner of Morrison and Vandenburgh on property owned by Hudson Valley. In 2010, the school moved its administrative offices out of the Hy Rosenblum building that is currently on the property, which will be demolished to make way for student housing.

The complex will include 328 beds with apartments for two and four students. There will be a parking lot with 160 spaces, common lounge areas and exercise rooms. Security will be present in the building 24/7. Rent will cost $655 monthly for each person for a four bedroom and $745 for two bedroom, including utilities and cable. Estimated cost of development is over $20 million.

Omni Development and Sequence Development will partner to build and operate the apartments if approved, has conducted a series of studies in the past year. These include an environmental review, a traffic study and an archaeological study.

“The primary goal is that we want to help support Hudson Valley’s goal of expanding opportunities for student and a part of that includes full college life and dormitories,” said Tim O’byrne, project coordinator for Omni.

Local residents have shown concern about the added traffic that the 328 residents would bring to the neighborhood. Morrison Ave, which is the hill that many students use to drive to campus from 787, already has traffic congestion.

“Traffic is everyone’s number one concern,” said Jeff Buell, CEO of Sequence Development.

During a public information hearing on Wednesday, August 27th, Omni presented their traffic study findings and proposals. They believe that most students will choose to walk to campus and plan on adding a one way right turn only exit lane on Vandenburgh to supplement the main entrance on Morrison, where the current entrance to the property is.

Local residents raised questions about pedestrians disrupting traffic and the difficulty of crossing on Vandenburgh. Omni is trying to work with the city of Troy to improve crossings.

Another concern that drew questions earlier in the process is the 19th century cemetery that is located on the property. After the archaeological study, Omni moved some aspects of development to ensure that the cemetery would be preserved. They are also including a historical marker.

“It’s a 23 million dollar project. There’s going to be some kickback,” said Buell. “A lot of neighbors came into the project concerned. We’ve alleviated most of them.”

Throughout the session, Buell stressed that they want to be allies of the neighborhood. “I’m from Troy, so its a project that’s near and dear to me,” he said.

Wednesday’s hearing was the third public forum. Approximately 20 local residents were in attendance. “We’ve been very transparent with the community,” said Kennedy.

Omni hopes to start demolition of the current building in Dec. this year, construction in the spring of 2015 and be fully operational by the fall of 2016.
Contract negotiations for Omni’s leasing of Hudson Valley land are still ongoing and permits are needed for construction. Once these are finalized, the project will start quickly.

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