Beneath the Surface, Tarrytown & Fordham Conduct Private Talks

This past February River Journal ran a story about the closing of Marymount College and what Fordham University intended to do with the College and its campus. At that time, Dean Father Reedy said, "There are no plans to sell. No one has been approached about buying Marymount College. We don’t have an agent. We don’t have a price tag. We don’t know what it could be used for. We don’t know if it would be of interest to either the town or private contractors".

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Top: Marymount Sports Alumnae Building reported to be the subject of discussion.
Middle: College Basketball Court in Alumnae Sports Building
Bottom: A potential addition to Tarrytown’s playing fields?

Six months later Tarrytown has been approached. Meetings between Mayor Drew Fixell and Fordham personnel were corroborated by Tarrytown’s Village Administrator, Steve McCabe, Mr. McCabe, however, stated that he did not know what the meetings were about. A telephone call made to Brian Byrne, Vice President for Administration at Fordham University, gathered minor but helpful information with Mr. Byrne saying that he was not in a position to comment on the meetings. He did, however, state that Fordham was in an "exploratory mode" with regard to the Marymount campus.

That "exploratory mode" at this juncture includes the College’s Alumnae Sports Building which houses a pool, basketball court and training room, used recreationally and in competition by the Marymount "Saints." It also includes the adjacent soccer field. Whether Fordham is looking to sell these assets or simply have the Village of Tarrytown maintain them is not clear at this time, according to a reliable source. Should Fordham look to offer the Alumnae Sports Building and soccer field in return for cash or consideration of rezoning the property for a different use is purely conjecture, nonetheless an interesting business consideration. All of the property that Fordham owns on Marymount Avenue is zoned R-20 which translates to single family residential homes sitting on 1/2 acre of land. Their Graduate Center off of Neperan Road is zoned R-40 or one-acre single family residential. Permitted within the "R" designated zoning are churches, synagogues, and municipal uses (such as the $8,500,000 Village Hall under construction opposite the train station). For other uses such as institutional housing or a nursing home or school, Fordham would have to obtain a compatible use permit from the Village. Should they consider turning dormitories into condominiums they would have to seek a variance and the Board grant a rezoning of the property. Once again, conjecture and an interesting business consideration.

The idea of an indoor swimming pool and an additional soccer field has a great deal of appeal to Mr. Fixell’s current Board. A rather large indoor pool by some accounts has been planned at the Ferry Landing’s development site. Its size, maintenance and economic return or drain has been questioned throughout its many developmental phases. In addition, there has been an ever-increasing demand for playing fields in the Village according to local sports organizations and parent groups.

One thing is particularly clear about the Marymount campus of Fordham University. With its splendid hilltop location overlooking the Hudson River and stately buildings (with one glaring exception) the former Dean’s comments about whether the property would be of interest to a developer can be answered in the affirmative. You don’t have to be in a university to realize it’s a "no brainer."

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento