New group looks to acquire Mount Sinai peach farm site

Originally from Village Beacon Record, TBR News Media

March 04, 2015 |

Continuing care retirement community still in the works

By Julianne Cuba

After Amsterdam Continuing Care Health System filed for bankruptcy in July 2014, the plan for a Mount Sinai retirement community on the vacant property next to The Ranches on Route 25A came to a halt. But Wartburg, an adult day care and home health care group based in Mount Vernon, plans to finish the project.

At a March 2 Mount Sinai Civic Association meeting, Ryan Herchenroether, vice president of project development at Wartburg, announced that although there hasn’t been an official purchase of the land by his company, Wartburg is excited about the opportunity.

In the 1990s, a lawsuit settled between the Town of Brookhaven and the Mount Sinai Civic Association mandated that a portion of the Davis Peach Farm property, which now houses The Ranches, be developed as a continuing care retirement community. The civic filed the suit after the town approved a series of zone changes in the hamlet that led to housing development. The civic argued the developments — The Ranches and Hamlet Willow Creek Golf & Country Club — had too-high densities.

In the mid-2000s, Harbor Village was supposed to be built on the property, but the project was nixed in 2008 after the economy crashed.

Herchenroether said Wartburg would live within the stipulation settled.

“Anything that’s in the stipulation we want to honor,” Herchenroether said. “There may be some design modifications that we’d like to look at. Of course our first conversation if we want to modify the design would be with you folks.”

The CCRC will have a maximum of 326 total units, and a few other modifications are currently being discussed, including the potential for a tennis court, restaurants, an auditorium and opportunities for therapy, Herchenroether said.

In 2012, Amsterdam was allocated a $7 million Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers capital grant from the state to develop the site. According to Herchenroether, the state could review the grant and pass it along to Wartburg. If the department chooses to do that, he said, it would makes things a little easier.

The civic’s vice president and corresponding secretary, Brad Arrington, said the property was intended to be revenue generating.

“As a civic, one of our objectives is to maintain that consistent revenue stream as much as possible to help fund the schools,” he said.

Herchenroether said conversations about a future PILOT payment have yet to be discussed, but his group is open to them.

A member of the civic association, whose property happens to be located adjacent to the vacant land, said she would like Wartburg to consider sharing some of its facilities with the neighboring area.

Herchenroether said Wartburg is looking at 18 to 20 months for the CCRC to be completed once ground is broken. If all goes according to plan, the facility could open in 2020.

“Getting to that point is the bigger hurdle, as everybody here knows,” he said.

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