A new developer has its eye on One Warburton Avenue, Hastings’ southernmost address and the location of Riverview Caterers, which closed during the pandemic.
Neil DeLuca of Pound Ridge, managing partner of Warburton One, a team formed with the goal of buying and building on the property, appeared with his colleagues at the Nov. 16 village board meeting to propose a 21-unit clustered townhouse project on the 3-acre site. One unit would be over the Yonkers border and would require separate approval.
Five years ago, a nursing home developer, Artis Senior Living, proposed to build a dementia care facility on the site, petitioning the Village to change its zoning code to allow assisted living developments in single-family zones such as the one where the property is located. Artis purchased the land from Riverview but allowed the catering business to continue operating pending the resolution of the zoning issue and the project’s approval. But the plan was scrapped a year later. There was too much public pushback to the project and to the prospect of rezoning.
“We think it’s the gateway to Hastings, or should be,” DeLuca said of the site. Noting that most of the property’s river views are now blocked by a 6-foot-tall, white vinyl fence, he said, “We think the Hudson River should be for everyone. We want to open that up to not only our residents, but for all people as well… there’s green space, lots of it, on the property. We’d like to work with your board, and your planning board, to make sure that’s forever green.”
DeLuca said the project would be smaller in scale than the recent construction in Yonkers. “Yonkers is bigger, and while some of those projects are great, we understand, and try never to lose sight of the fact, that Hastings is an unusual place, so the architecture has to be unusual — cool and updated, and yet subdued — to fit in with the nature of Hastings.”
The project architect would be John Sullivan of White Plains-based Sullivan Architecture. The east side of the Warburton property, currently The Riverview’s parking lot, would hold 16 townhouses in three clusters, 13 of them market rate and three designated as affordable units. The market-rate units would vary in size from 2,200 to 2,600 square feet, the affordable ones about 1,500 square feet. On the location of the catering hall, on the west side of Warburton Avenue, would be one cluster of five townhouses, the southernmost of which would extend into Yonkers. Each market rate unit would have its own ground-level two-car garage (the affordable units would have one-car garages and outdoor parking for a second car). Each unit would have a balcony with a river view, and each cluster would have a vegetated roof.
Hastings resident Richard Quigley is the landscape architect on the project. He said a proper village gateway is “well planned, [and] has a consistent kind of streetscape vocabulary that would be mirror-imaged on both sides of Warburton Avenue.” His design incorporates sidewalks and street trees on both sides (currently, there are no sidewalks on the east side).
Quigley said the vegetated rooftops of each building “will reduce stormwater runoff from the buildings at the source, and will improve the quality of the runoff, which will be released from the site at a more slow and consistent rate.” He also recommends porous paving materials throughout the site. All plantings would be native trees and shrubs, and there would be a “native meadow” on the northeast side of the property connecting to the Old Croton Aqueduct.
The team’s attorney, Kristin Wilson, said that the project would require an adjustment to the zoning, in that the southwestern portion of the property that includes the catering hall and some of its lawn is zoned for multifamily use (the catering hall’s use was grandfathered), while the rest, including the parking lot across the street, is zoned single family. “Our ask of you is to consider almost a boundary line adjustment for the zoning district,” she said, requesting that the board consider moving the boundary of the multifamily zone north and east to include the entire parcel.
The developers predict the complex would appeal to empty-nesters, professional singles, and couples, since the plans don’t include amenities that would be attractive to families with children. At this point, the developer is asking to bring the project before the planning board in order to begin the site plan and subdivision process, as well as the zoning change. They are also open to placing a conservation easement on what would be the undeveloped portion of the land.