Ken Kearney became a New York City firefighter inside the Nineteen Seventies — until he fell through the ground of a burning building within the South Bronx. Unable to paintings once more as a firefighter, he ultimately determined to attempt his hand at real estate. Today, he and his son Sean have obtained more than one award and significant popularity for their construction and control of less expensive artists’ lofts and pinnacle-satisfactory middle-income apartments.
Peekskill’s Lofts on Main consists of an internet cafe and spaces for dance, music, and visible arts in a four-tale Main Street building with seventy-four new loft-style one- and-bedroom units. At its grand commencing, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul defined Lofts on Main as “more than only a building — it’s far a reputation that painters, photographers, musicians and greater enrich our society whilst using tourism and financial vitality.”
The Kearneys have an excellent historical past. In 2009, Ken Kearney was diagnosed because of the “Hudson Valley Developer of the Year.” In 2015, Kearneys acquired the Alliance for Business Award for Excellence. They were the primary developer in New York nation to apply for the Middle-Income Housing Program and mix it with artist housing. In addition, the Kearneys have made a commitment to sustainability using complying with the Green Building Initiative of New York State, The Energy Efficiency Initiative, and NYSERDA and LEED certification.
Last summertime, I was delivered to the Kearneys by way of a mutual acquaintance. Sean came for a go-to, and we walked downtown and mentioned Oneonta’s challenges, property, and desires. Impressed with both his accomplishments and network experience, I determined that the subsequent step needs to be a firsthand observe their these days completed Lofts on Main in Peekskill. I despatched out invites for more than 30 human beings to sign up for me on an all-day avenue ride to Peekskill.
Ten courageous people general my provide to take a seat on the hard seats of a Oneonta metropolis bus for a 3-hour trip to Peekskill. Included were leaders from our nearby business, no longer-for-earnings and government sectors. Once there, we met with Ken and Sean, toured the apartments, spoke with artists/tenants, and visited nearby retail companies. The three-hour ride home — once more on the hard seats of a metropolis bus — regarded to skip plenty quicker. All spoke with enthusiasm about what they had visible and about the capacity for a similar project to kickstart the revitalization of our downtown.
Discussions revolved across the exceptional of the construction, the enthusiasm of the tenants, the support of the downtown retail organizations, and the primary-ground gallery. All agreed with the sentiment that this became precisely the type of development that might help Oneonta develop. But, despite the keenness, we all agreed that earlier than shifting forward, we needed to verify the need and available assets to guide the sort of assignment in Oneonta. We, therefore, did some homework. A housing observes carried out by using an independent group concluded that “A loss of newer, exquisite multifamily condo housing and reducing the availability of affordable condominium housing in the City of Oneonta created a want for additional, top quality mixed-income housing.”
Our currently completed Comprehensive Plan documented the need to “create additional, appropriate pleasant combined-profits housing inside the City of Oneonta” and “to explore the feasibility of a brand new facility that could provide help to local artists with low priced stay/paintings area.” A study conducted below the leadership of SUNY Oneonta, with the countrywide organization named Art Space, concluded that “Oneonta is properly-located to pursue a low cost live/work combined-use facility for artists and creatives,” and “based totally on experience working in comparable communities, Artspace believes Oneonta has the capability to guide a 30+ unit blended-use Artspace assignment.”
And eventually, an expert parking takes a look at it carried out within the Fall of 2017 stated that “There is currently a sizable unused delivery of public parking inside the City of Oneonta. Even for the duration of height times, there are almost 500 public areas to be had within a handy strolling distance to Main Street.” After a yr of doing our homework and ongoing discussion with Ken and Sean, I am delighted that they’ve determined to try to carry their award-triumphing idea of downtown artists’ lofts and middle-profits housing to Oneonta. This challenge has the potential to get the ball rolling in developing greater financial and cultural vibrancy. After all, greater humans mean more customers and extra personnel for our local agencies. Our demanding situations are actual, but this is an actual leap forward. Just one greater way wherein we will say that “Oneonta is ‘on’ something.”