GovernmentThe Examiner

Developer Scraps Hotel, Revises Residential Plan for Armonk Site

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The developer who pitched a boutique hotel and age-restricted townhouse development in Armonk has revised the project by eliminating the lodging facility and changing the residential plan to feature 88 three-bedroom fee-simple units.

Representatives for applicant Maddd Madonna Armonk LLC’s Eagle Ridge proposal cited the lack of economic viability in developing the proposed 124-room hotel on 10 of the 32 acres it owns on North Castle Drive and the unwillingness of contract vendee Toll Brothers to back a plan that would have posed hurdles for its construction and operations. 

There was also concern about a $5 million letter of credit that the town was requiring as well as mandatory building permits for the construction of the townhomes to allow for the development of the hotel, said Kory Salomone, the attorney representing the applicant.

The other 22 acres would have featured 72 two-bedroom townhomes with condominium taxation.

Salomone said the revised plan will have no age restrictions to live in the townhomes but would be targeted toward the empty-nester who is looking to downsize. All master bedrooms would be on the first floor, he said.

“I think we checked a lot of boxes on a lot of complaints that we got,” Salomone told the board at its Mar. 22 meeting. “We wanted a more linear plan, you have it. Nobody wanted to see a 45-foot-high building next to the park. You don’t have that anymore. I think we’ve reduced all of the impacts and doubled your taxes. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Town officials must now consider whether the tradeoff of likely adding more school-age children is a direction they want to consider. The 88-unit plan projects 34 children in grades K-12, 12 more than the previous proposal, Salomone said.

Board members had also hoped to have a hotel developed on the 10 acres that had been zoned for that use in hopes of attracting an operator that would provide accommodations for people visiting the area. The town has been without any lodging facility since La Quinta Inn left Business Park Drive in 2020.

Supervisor Michael Schiliro said he wasn’t surprised by the change in direction by the developer given how the applicant’s studies outlined challenges facing Maddd Madonna.

“I wanted a hotel, still want a hotel, but at the last meeting my comment was if I had to make a choice, I want this project to be built more than I want a hotel,” Schiliro said last week.

The board has sought feedback from the Byram Hills School District to gauge school officials’ reaction to the latest proposal.

There was mixed reaction from the remainder of the Town Board. Councilwoman Barbara DiGiacinto expressed some disappointment in the scuttling of the hotel and was not ready to fully embrace the latest iteration of the plan, although she wasn’t negative either.

“It was going to be a quality hotel, it was to have a fine restaurant, it was going to have a fine bar, it was going to have parties, events and celebrations, and so on and so forth,” DiGiacinto said. “That was no longer economically viable.”

Councilman Matt Milim said he was encouraged by the residential plan, in part because of the full taxation. However, he is weighing whether the proposal is still too large.

“I like the idea of having this be all residential and fee simple and not being a hotel, and I’m wrestling with the 88 (units),” he said. “I’m not against it, I’m struggling with it because it does feel a little tight and I know that others have that concern.”

Salomone responded that if the Town Board grants the applicant its requested zoning change to Multifamily-A Residential District for the entire 32 acres, the 88 townhomes would be far fewer than the 144 allowed under the zoning.

The Town Board agreed to re-establish itself as lead agency for the environmental review and refer the petition to the Planning Board for a recommendation.

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