“Dynamic” describes the building boom in Peekskill’s residential apartment landscape. Construction cranes in several parts of the city are erecting new foundations and steel beams at a fever pace.
There are more than 400 new units now under construction with another 400 more under review and potentially in the pipeline. That’s more than 800 units that could boost the city’s housing stock in the coming years [Editor’s note > See the December issue of River Journal North for a complete rundown of projects.]
The newest company entering the Peekskill development landscape is a Rockland County firm that has bought one of the last large parcels in the city.
Peekskill Views LLC, based in Spring Valley, paid $1.1 million to purchase a 13-acre site of land on Frost Lane. The property was sold by the Borbely family, which owned the land for many years.
The empty, heavily treed land lies behind the townhomes that make up Pataki Farms, a development that the former Governor’s family built several decades ago.
Peekskill Views LLC lists an office address of 1041 East 22nd St in Brooklyn. Nathan Kahn of Sunrise Development and Management is listed as a managing member of Peekskill Views. Kahn’s firm has been involved with developing active senior adult communities in Connecticut.
A mortgage of $700,000 for the land purchase was provided by Ditmas Park Capital of Lakewood, N.J. Ditmas Park Capital is headed by Barry Hertz. His brother, Rabbi Meir Hertz, is a controversial figure who has headed Lakewood Tenants Organization in Lakewood for several decades. Rabbi Hertz runs the Section 8 program in Lakewood, paying himself several hundred thousand dollars a year, according to tax returns. He also runs a boys’ school, Tashbar of Lakewood. The brothers have developed luxury homes in New Jersey.
At the far east end of Frost Lane is the Section 8, low-income development Stuhr Gardens, which contains three three-story and four two-story buildings, totaling 104 units on an 8.5 acre site on Vail Avenue. Peekskill Industrial Development Agency authorized a $7.2 million bond offering in 2007 to finance the sale and renovations at Stuhr Gardens.
Just north of the Peekskill Views property, up the road off of North Division Street, another developer wants to construct six single-family houses and a 42-unit condominium project, called Mountain View Acres, on 16.4 acres on Lockwood Avenue, behind The Hat Factory.
One ambitious project planned for the north side of Peekskill never got off the ground and faces foreclosure by its lender.
Brooklyn-based developer Perl Weisz, of CW Realty Group, purchased the former White Plains Linen buildings on Highland Avenue in April 2018 from the Botchman family, owners of White Plains Linen, and announced plans to build 100 apartments and a boutique hotel on the property.
However, the project’s lender, ConnectOne Bank of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., filed a notice of foreclosure in July against the property for payment of the $875,000 mortgage.
According to court papers, the developer failed to make mortgage payments in April, May and June of this year. Payments for real estate taxes, water and sewer charges have also not been paid.
White Plains Linen, Peekskill’s largest private employer, now operates from its building on John Walsh Boulevard at Charles Point.
Another Rockland-based developer’s redevelopment of a Peekskill building seems to have stalled.
The Riley Building, in the center of the city across from Peekskill Coffee House, was purchased in 2018 from Keith and Christine Bobolia by 104 South Division LLC, based in Spring Valley. The deal was financed with a $650,000 mortgage granted by J&J Capital Realty Associates LLC of Spring Valley.
The developer’s principal, Avrum Chaim Lebrecht, sought approvals from the city to renovate the first-floor commercial spaces and convert the existing upper-floor commercial spaces into nine apartments.
The developer was granted a building permit in May 2019 to complete approximately $425,000 of renovations. That one-year permit expired in May 2020.
A second permit was authorized in February of this year for construction on the roof, for an HVAC system and installation of a roof hatch. Three years after the building was purchased, work at the building seems to have stalled, with no apparent construction underway.
Phone calls to Ditmas Park Capital, Lebrecht and Perl Weisz requesting comment were not returned by press time.
Jim Roberts is a freelance business reporter based in Peekskill.