GovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Developer Seeks Tax Abatement for Underhill Farm Project

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The developer of a mixed-use project on Underhill Avenue in Yorktown is seeking a tax abatement agreement for planned road improvements that are considered a key component of receiving site plan approval.

During a special Planning Board work session on Underhill Farm, Unicorn Contracting President Paul Guillaro and his development team discussed their plans to be reimbursed for a portion of the estimated $1.2 million being projected to redesign the intersection of Route 118 and Underhill Avenue.

Attorney Mark Blanchard said Unicorn is hoping to reach a pact with the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to recoup at least $450,000 for costs associated with improving the intersection. Guillaro is putting up about $650,000, with the rest being financed.

“There’s a lot that goes into this that is not just conceptual,” Blanchard explained. “It’s an incredible solution to an existing problem. It opens the door for further development.”

Underhill Farm is planned on the former 13.8-acre Soundview Preparatory School site. Unicorn Contracting is proposing 148 residential units – 64 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, 52 three- and four-bedroom townhouses and 32 one- and two-bedroom condominiums – 11,000 square feet of commercial space and an adaptive reuse of the property’s historic mansion.

As part of the $60 million project, the historic Underhill House is slated to be transformed into a community resource and gathering spot. In addition, the pond will be completely restored with a $150,000 investment and complemented by walking trails and sitting areas.

Blanchard noted only the commercial portion of the project is eligible for a tax abatement.

Former supervisor Susan Siegel told the Town Board last week while she had no issues with the traffic improvements, she questioned the tax abatement proposal, which she maintained would mean a loss of tax revenue to the town.

“If Unicorn needs to make road improvements in order for the Planning Board to approve Underhill Farm, then the company should pay the entire cost for the improvements,” Siegel said. “Why should Unicorn Contracting get special treatment?”

Planning Board Chairman Richard Fon continued to emphasize the importance of the intersection being upgraded for Underhill Farm to be viable.

“This intersection is not a good intersection. We know that. This plan will not only benefit this development, but the whole area,” he said. “There is a lot of concern about this project as we dig into it.”

Blanchard and Councilman Sergio Esposito said discussions have taken place between Unicorn and the Town Board over the tax abatement proposal.

“We’ve had a positive reception from them. We believe they’re on board,” Blanchard said.



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