Warehouse to replace blighted vestiges
A plan to replace the rundown remnants of the former Dutchess Mall on Route 9 with a massive warehouse facility won approval from the Town of Fishkill Planning Board last month.
The board gave preliminary approval on Feb. 9 to Crow Holdings Industrial’s application to demolish the long-abandoned remaining buildings from what was once Dutchess County’s first indoor mall and construct a 350,000-square-foot facility with 78 loading docks and 209 parking spaces.
The warehouse would sit on 28.9 acres of a 39.3-acre parcel currently owned by Hudson Properties LLC along the south side of the Home Depot, which is flanked on the north by the Fishkill campus of Dutchess Community College.
In addition to the warehouse, Crow says it will install bike racks and six charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as add a sidewalk and bus shelter on Route 9. Hudson Properties will retain ownership of the remaining 10.4-acre lot, which fronts the property along the state highway.
Before anything is built, the project needs other approvals, including the state Department of Transportation’s endorsement of Crow’s concept for sidewalks and other additions along Route 9 and consent from Dutchess County for the project’s sewer and water infrastructure.
The Town Board is also requiring that Crow provide a $15 million performance bond to ensure completion of certain elements of the project unrelated to the main facility, such as sidewalks, storm water controls and landscaping.
During a public hearing in December, Jennifer Gray, an attorney with Keane & Beane of White Plains, which is representing Crow Holdings, described the property as a “gateway” to Fishkill.
“It’s long been a dilapidated, abandoned, moribund site, so we are pleased to be able to bring this back to productive use,” she said.
Before the property became an eyesore, it opened in 1974 as Dutchess County’s first indoor mall on part of the site of the Fishkill Supply Depot, a Revolutionary War-era encampment.
Tenants have included several department stores, Jamesway, Lucky Platt and Mays, a Radio Shack and a Waldenbooks. But the opening of the Poughkeepsie Galleria and other retail centers along Route 9 siphoned away customers and the mall closed in 2001.
Home Depot opened in July 2006. Seven years later, Dutchess Marketplace, an indoor/outdoor flea market, opened in the former Jamesway space but shut down in 2019.
Redeveloping the site has been a priority for the town, but not every resident embraced the construction of a warehouse. At the public hearing in December, Ann LaGoy called the site a “national treasure” because of the Fishkill Supply Depot but said it was “disappointing to see that this is our gateway into Fishkill and it’s going to be a giant warehouse.”
The town’s goal of seeing the property redeveloped received a boost in August 2021 when Dutchess Community College opened its Fishkill campus in the former Jamesway building.
The college said it chose the location in part because of its proximity to Interstate 84 and the belief that it could attract more students from Beacon and Putnam County, which does not have a community college.
Under a 15-year lease agreement, J.W. Mays Corp. renovated 47,000 square feet on the second floor of the two-story building, which dominated the north end of Dutchess Mall when it opened nearly 50 years ago.
In addition to 20 classrooms, the building has a lecture hall; biology, design and physical science labs; computer rooms; administrative offices; and a library.
While there is nothing Philipstown can do to stop construction of a warehouse with 78 loading docks on its border with Fishkill, there is plenty Philipstown can do to minimize the warehouse’s impact on the Route 9 corridor within the Philipstown border. However, this won’t happen unless we take the initiative.
Specifically, there are procedures under which municipalities can appeal to the state Department of Transportation to establish what are called traffic-calming systems. Other municipalities have done so successfully.
Among other things, the DOT must take into account the town’s master plan, safety concerns and the views of community members, local businesses and first responders. Pulling together a successful appeal to the DOT will require that we all come together and contribute to the initiative.
With a 78-dock warehouse coming to our backyard, there is no time to waste.
I’m all for solving any traffic problems but honestly I don’t get where this has anything to do with Philipstown. A quick glance at Google Maps shows this project a good two-plus miles from the border so I wouldn’t say it’s “on the border with Fishkill.” I don’t think anyone from Philipstown has any claim to influence this project, and right now we need the jobs around the area, and to get rid of the mess that was rotting there for 20 years.
After so many years of stalled projects, the Town of Fishkill should be ashamed of itself for approving this. It’s completely useless to the community. [via Instagram]
Fishkill is so desperate with development. Such a beautiful, historic place has been overrun with gas stations and strip malls. But they are going to have a bike rack! [via Instagram]
There are myriad innovative, environmentally conscious and creative ways to transform this parcel: affordable housing with an independent, business-oriented main street a la the “15-minute-village concept” [in which living, working, commerce, health care, education and entertainment are within a 15-minute bike or walk]; accessible green space for children of all abilities; and/or a community-led botanic gardens such as the excellent Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.
Instead, we get a climate-controlled space set to increase truck traffic and likely employ people under exploitative conditions. [via Instagram]