Developers of a proposed upscale resort community for the Harlem Valley region of Dutchess County presented a revised site plan to local officials Tuesday. The new plan scales down the project in response to concerns from town residents and officials.
The $500 million Silo Ridge resort community proposal is for the town of Amenia, in eastern Dutchess County near the Connecticut border. It features 245 residential and lodge units, a redesigned 18-hole golf course, a field house, and wellness and recreation programming. Pedro Torres’ family bought the property in 1999. He’s with Stoneleaf Partners, which in 2013 teamed up with Discovery Land Company as the project’s developers. He says Silo Ridge is aimed toward younger families, providing recreation both within the community as well as in the surrounding area.
“It’s not just going to attract I think metro New Yorkers. I think it’s also, there’s a ton of private schools here. My parents went to school up here. My brothers went to school up here. And there’s where do you stay what do you do,” Torres says. “I think there’s also going to be parents who want to spend more time with their kids when they’re up here and I think that’s also going to be also interesting for them.”
Silo Ridge would represent Discovery Land’s second private residential community in the eastern U.S. Discovery Land has one in North Carolina and is looking to build in the Hamptons, on Long Island. Discovery has communities in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Texas, the Bahamas and Los Cabos, Mexico.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro hopes all is a go and shovels can hit the ground in the late spring. Silo Ridge will submit the updated site plan to the town planning board next week. Molinaro says the project proves the county’s economic climate is warming.
“The investment here, nearly half-a-billion dollars, speaks volumes about Dutchess County’s economic viability and really the concept that we still have those great places that people want to call home and want to invest in and want to make families and grow families in,” says Molinaro. “This project blends environmental protection and sustainable economic development in a way that’s very important to us.”
Changes from the 2009 plan include reducing the number of hotel and lodge units from 300 to 21; and cutting the number of residential units from 338 to 224. In addition, no buildings will exceed the town limit of 35 feet in height, changed from an earlier proposal to seek waivers to construct 16 taller buildings. Molinaro predicts the economic effect of families buying into the Silo Ridge community will expand into other parts of the county.
“We know that individuals who will come to club settings like this find a way to other parts of the county. They’ll go out to dinner at the restaurants locally. They’ll be looking and exploring new opportunities. They’ll want to walk the Walkway (Over the Hudson). They’ll want to visit the Roosevelt estate. They’ll want to have dinner in Rhinebeck or in Pawling,” says Molinaro. “So there absolutely is a ripple effect. And many of them will say to their families, hey, listen you may not be able to afford to move into one of these homes, but I saw a great house in the Village of Millerton, the Village of Red Hook, the Village of Wappingers Falls.”
Victoria Perotti is Amenia town supervisor.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the town for economic development, to provide jobs, and to provide a future for the residents of Amenia,” says Perotti. “It’s also spurring development in our hamlets, in Amenia and Wassaic, and for visitors and for the local residents. So it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.”
She believes any concerns about the project have been addressed in the new site plan. She highlights one of the revisions that preserves an iconic view and public access, with the dedication of the Artisans Park Overlook.
“One of the concerns was visual because the view from DeLaVergne hill is who Amenia is. It defines Amenia,” says Perotti. “And one of the things, the concerns were made clear during the public hearings. And Silo Ridge listened, which is why they’re having the Artisans Park, which is why they’re taking trees down so that people can see the view from DeLaVergne Hill.”
Silo Ridge preserves 80 percent of the site as open space, 538 acres, relatively unchanged from the 2009 plan. The revised plan also reduces expected water demand, wastewater generation, and increases wetland buffers by 40 percent. Torres points out that though Silo Ridge has its own golf course and would boast other amenities, there are plenty of recreational attractions nearby, including Tamarack Preserve for hunting and fishing, nearby skiing and fly fishing, and exclusive access to Lime Rock Park, for motor racing.
Michael Delango owns Delango Automotive in the town. He’s also a member of the Amenia Town Board.
“There’s a lot of businesses in town that are starving and they need help. And there’s so many good self-employed people and so many good workers and everything, but there’s just not opportunities,” says Delango. “And I project like this, in my mind, brings so many opportunities. It just, it’s a godsend.”
Silo Ridge officials say the project will bring 3,000 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs, 125 of which would be full time. They say that over the next decade, the project would provide nearly $42 million in tax revenue to the Webutuck Central School District. Also over the next decade, it is estimated that Silo Ridge will provide $7.7 million in tax revenue to the Town of Amenia; $11.9 million to Dutchess County; and $1.7 million to the Amenia Fire District, including the Wassaic Fire District.