The Examiner

Potential Buyer for Senter Street Firehouse Surfaces in Chappaqua

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A potential buyer has emerged for downtown Chappaqua’s Senter Street firehouse who could transform the nearly century-old building into a restaurant.

Last month, local residents Steffi and Phil Green reached out to the New Castle Fire District No. 1 Board of Commissioners to express interest in the property.

The overture comes after public signals from the fire district and town officials that there could be a sale of the firehouse property. Supervisor Robert Greenstein said redevelopment of the parcel could help with the revitalization of the downtown in conjunction with the Chappaqua infrastructure and streetscape project. That work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

While the Greens declined to answer questions at this time, Board of Commissioners Acting Chair Danna Schoenberg acknowledged the fire district may consider a transaction under certain conditions.

“We are open to discussing the sale of the Senter Street property only if it is fiscally best for the district and best for the needs of the fire department,” Schoenberg said in a statement. “Right now we do not have an alternate space to replace the functions of the building.”

In the months leading up to the soundly defeated October 2016 King Street firehouse expansion referendum, fire district representatives said a larger facility would allow them to house the antique equipment at King Street and provide volunteer firefighters with adequate training space. Those are the principal uses for the Senter Street firehouse.

In a Feb. 13 letter to the Board of Commissioners, the Greens briefly described to the commissioners their preliminary plans for the property.

“Our vision is to create a unique space that attracts residents in the morning to converse over coffee/baked goods and, in the evening, entices residents to enjoy local (Hudson Valley) craft beer and spirits,” their letter stated. “As long time residents, we believe that downtown Chappaqua lacks vibrant venues that lure residents to spend time in our town center. We believe that a space like the old firehouse can be that unique and exciting venue.”

On Mar. 6, the Town Board discussed the issue and how if a sale materialized it could be an important boost to the downtown revitalization plans. Greenstein said other municipalities have attracted entrepreneurs who have repurposed old firehouses into restaurants, which have become community attractions.

“I think residents should know that there are people who want to turn that firehouse into a restaurant and that the only reason the fire department is holding onto it is because they use the building,” Greenstein said.

He proposed sending a letter encouraging the commissioners to consider selling the firehouse.

Councilwoman Hala Makowska said it is likely that for any sale to occur, fire district officials would need to float another referendum for a proposed firehouse expansion at King Street. That could result in a multiyear process, she said.

“So now that they need to do is they need to rebuild (the public’s) confidence, and it may take a couple of years, and they need to confirm the cost of the plans,” Makowska said.





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