UPDATE: A prominent figure involved in County development writes that Phoenix Hudson has “ceased operations.”
The arrival of Phoenix Hudson last Fall occasioned the usual breathless local media hype, and backslapping among the Columbia County development establishment.
Phoenix, the latest company to take a shot at occupying the 70,000 square foot former Emsig button factory on 2nd Street, was expected to begin manufacturing plastic fencing by October 2012, “running at capacity by November” of last year.
“By the end of the year we hope to be up at around 20 to 25 people working there,” President John Tonelli told the Register-Star.
Tonelli received the customary invitation to address the Hudson Rotary. Then in June 2013, the Chamber of Commerce bestowed upon him its Business Person of the Year award, passing over more established businesses such as Basilica Hudson.
Lately, though, this site has received persistent tips to check into the status of Phoenix. Some even claim that the company has either already abandoned Hudson, or is on the verge of doing so. A daytime phone call to their office reached only a bland voicemail message, with no company directory. (Note: The Hudson Development Corporation provided the wrong number for Phoenix, sending me instead to Coldwell Banker.)
An in-person weekday visit to the company’s headquarters at the old button factory did not yield any signs of an active business employing 20-25 people. A single white Mercedes was parked out front, with plenty of weeds coming up through the concrete around the shuttered loading bays.
A lone employee emerged, identifying himself as “Dmitri.” Asked whether Phoenix was hiring, or manufacturing anything in the building, Dmitri indicated that for now the company is just selling off “existing inventory.” Would the company actually start making products locally at at some point? “Probably some time next year,” he said, though not too confidently.
Hudson art dealer and musician Peter Jung reports that the Fabergé figurine of a Russian bodyguard commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II brought an auction price of $5.2 million this afternoon at Stair Galleries. Found in a Rhinebeck attic, the piece was described earlier this month in a New York Times article. Even without doing a thorough search, it seems safe to say that represents the largest price paid for anything in the City of Hudson ever, including real estate.
Two longtime residents say they believe it likely that buried gas or oil tanks may be found on the triangular piece of property at the gateway of Hudson and Greenport, whose sale was reported here yesterday. The property sold sold for $5,000 last week as part of Columbia County’s foreclosure auction.
An unknown buyer has purchased the triangle of land and abandoned building in Greenport which serves as the unofficial entrance to Hudson, at the dangerous intersection of Route 23B and Columbia Turnpike.
The price, according to Lisa Brightly of the County Attorney’s office, was the minimum bid set for last week’s auction of foreclosed properties: $5,000.
The goofy rendering above (created by Morris Associates) was circulated in April 2011 by a group of Hudson and Greenport politicos and developers, who proposed demolishing the dilapated building creating an “entry park.”
One Greenport insider speculated that the likely buyer might be accountant and County GOP ringleader Richard Koskey, who was listed as one of the proponents of the plan in this Register-Star article from the time. The other proponents were then-Mayor Richard Scalera, then-Mayor’s assistant Carmine Pierro and County engineer David Robinson, gravel king Paul Colarusso, then-Greenport Supervisor Ed Nabozny, along with Guy Apicella, Mary Mazzacano, Daniel Kennealley, and Cathy Bucholsky of the Greenport Garden Club.
The Valley Alliance argument that the City, not Holcim, owns 4.4 acres smack in the middle of the Hudson Waterfront, has been vindicated. A new title search grudgingly undertaken by the City has validated the Alliance’s arguments, brought forth last June with the assistance of a professional surveyor and attorney Ken Dow.
Of the 9.97 acres that Holcim was offering to the City, with conditions that would be in place for fifty years, 4.4 acres had been illegally sold by the City to Holcim (then St. Lawrence Cement) in 1981. Since the sale was illegal, the 4.4 acres still belong to the City of Hudson.
Those attending the meeting report that not a single Alderman had anything to say about this news of the City now having 4.4 more prime Waterfront acres to work with. What will the City do with it? When will the people get access to these lands—on Holcim has been squatting illegally for over 30 years?
If young, emerging talent of all types can't find a foothold in this city, then it will be a city closer to Hong Kong or Abu Dhabi than to the rich fertile place it has historically been. Those places might have museums, but they don't have culture. Ugh. If New York goes there – more than it already has – I'm leaving. But where will I go? Join the expat hipsters upstate in Hudson?
That would represent the first time ever that Byrne has been behind the cultural curve: His former bandmates in the Tom Tom Club played a benefit at the Basilica Industria in Hudson to assist the cement plant fight—way back in 2004.
[h/t: Chris Bishop]
[n.b: Hudson is also featured, somewhat more flatteringly, in the November issue of Architectural Digest. The feature is not yet online.]
The Hudson Common Council has announced that it will attach a rider to its recently-proposed Soak The Nonprofits bill.
Motioned by Alderman Friedman and seconded by Alderman Donahue, this far-sighted rider would henceforth and forever ban the use of all forms of Math in the Council chambers.
In the first of 17 (or possibly 13, or 19) Whereas clauses, the bill defines “Math” as “Any and all of that useless gibberish that Teacher tried to force down our throats in school, including but hardly limited to everything from simple sums to those differential thingamajobbers.”
Both the bill and the new rider look to have a strong chance of passage, having garnered support from both the Council’s DINO Tea Party faction and its ascendant Hemp Caucus.
Much like the bill itself, which would generate little meaningful revenue and appear to do virtually nothing to save the City from its free-spending ways, the rider would be a mostly symbolic act.
In point of fact, no City official of any ideological stripe has been so foolish as to attempt Mathematics in the chambers since the dark day when then-Treasurer Pryshlak unwisely attempted long division with a blunt carpenter’s pencil, touching off The Panic of ’94.
More details to follow as they emerge on this breaking story.