Hudson’s biggest property owner, the non-profit Galvan, plans luxury hotel

Robert Roffulo

HUDSON — A nonprofit developer is planning a 30-room high-end hotel in Hudson’s city center. Galvan, which owns scores of properties in this city of 6,000 people, presented initial plans to Hudson’s Planning Board in January for the 20,000-square foot, three-story hotel, which is to be located on Warren Street, […]

HUDSON — A nonprofit developer is planning a 30-room high-end hotel in Hudson’s city center.

Galvan, which owns scores of properties in this city of 6,000 people, presented initial plans to Hudson’s Planning Board in January for the 20,000-square foot, three-story hotel, which is to be located on Warren Street, the city’s commercial center and a magnet for out-of-town visitors.

Two city Common Council members took issue with aspects of the proposal, questioning the lack of parking spaces and how the large hotel would affect Hudson’s already squeezed housing market, which has seen affordable rentals disappear over the last 20 years.

The plan, presented by  Dan Kent, a Galvan vice president, would rehabilitate two vacant apartment buildings, with additions connecting and expanding the structures. The hotel would include a restaurant, two-story bar and 900 square feet of retail space, according to the presentation.

The company would seek property tax breaks from the city, according to Charles Gottlieb, the land-use attorney for the project, as well as state tax credits and tax credits for historical preservation.

Kent, the public face of Galvan in Hudson, did not respond to phone calls about the project.

Galvan’s mission is to “improve the quality of life of the people and communities of Columbia County,” according to its website.

The organization’s website speaks of “a significant need for affordable housing” in Columbia County, and it operates 180 units of housing it defines as affordable, according to the website, but Common Council member Mohammed Rony said in an interview the nonprofit has the opposite effect on Hudson.

Rony, who immigrated to Hudson in 1996 as a child, said he has seen the cost of housing skyrocket in his lifetime, and that Galvan has played a role in it by “hoarding” properties.

Galvan currently owns 86 buildings in the city, 30 of which are unoccupied, according to their website.

Galvan creates artificial inflation through this hoarding, Rony said, then builds affordable housing developments with tax breaks from the city.


He mentioned Galvan’s $6.6 million property tax break last year for a block of affordable and market-rate apartments.

“If you look at them at a face value, sometimes it look like they’re doing good things … but at the same time, they’re really taking advantage of these tax programs, and then they’re trying to benefit off the tourism industry,” Rony said.

The two buildings that comprise the proposed hotel were once apartments, and, though they were vacant when Galvan bought them, Rony questions why the potential housing was being turned into hotel rooms.

“We don’t want to develop the tourism industry at the cost of the character of this small city,” he added.

Rony expressed his reservations at the planning board meeting, as did a second Common Council member, Margaret Morris.

Morris questioned why the hotel’s plans did not include any new parking.

“I’m kind of really confused that you do not have a plan,” she said.

Guests could use street parking, Gottleib said, and Galvan might also lease spaces from the city. Engineering firm Creighton Manning would produce a parking study for the project.

This is not the first time Galvan has attracted controversy from Common Council members.

In April 2020, when the Common Council was comprised of different members, Galvan abruptly withdrew a request for tax breaks for an affordable housing block and mothballed the project after disagreements with the council. The Common Council had voted down an earlier version of the tax breaks.

In 2021, Galvan attempted to get tax breaks for a block of mixed-income apartments and commercial spaces from the Common Council. The Common Council pushed back on the request, and Galvan eventually threatened to sue the Common Council for defamation after a resolution was introduced making allegations about the nonprofit.

Galvan then requested the tax breaks through the city’s Industrial Development Agency, eventually receiving a $6.6 million discount on property taxes for the project.

https://www.timesunion.com/hudsonvalley/news/article/Hudson-s-biggest-property-owner-a-non-profit-16819564.php

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