Developer plans townhouses, apartments along creek in Beacon

A cleanup 17 years in the making is finally scheduled to begin by next month at the Beacon Terminal, as the site’s new owner plans to convert the long-derelict buildings along Fishkill Creek into housing.

The work is expected to begin sometime between Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 and last approximately three months at the 11-acre property, which is located at 555 South Ave., next to the parking lot for Madam Brett Park, and has been vacant since 1995.

The cleanup, which involves the removal of 3,740 cubic yards of contaminated soil, is being done as part of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Brownfield program, in which developers receive tax breaks for cleaning up contaminated parcels, usually former factories.

The site’s current owner, Rodney Weber, is also the developer of Edgewater, a 246-unit, seven-building apartment complex near Tompkins Avenue that broke ground last year. The DEC said that Beacon Terminal will be “redeveloped by constructing new buildings and renovating some existing buildings to construct townhouses, duplex and triplex units.”

Weber declined to specify when the project might be coming before the Beacon Planning Board for review, but new construction is prohibited until the DEC determines that the cleanup is successful. Both Weber and the DEC said that remediation is not expected to impede access to Madam Brett Park.

Originally built in 1879, Beacon Terminal served as the site of the Tioronda Hat Works Factory as well as the New York Rubber Co. and a factory for Tuck Tape.

In 1974, volunteers working with Clearwater identified at least 27 illegal discharges from the Tuck Tape factory into Fishkill Creek. The company’s vice president at the time asserted that despite the color and odor of the discharges, the factory was actually making the water cleaner.

Previous testing of soil at the site revealed elevated concentrations of toluene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Recent groundwater testing did not turn up any significant contamination.

Although the DEC says the site does not currently pose threats to human health or the environment, that would change if the site were to become residential. The excavated soil will be disposed of “at an appropriately permitted facility equipped to receive the material,” according to the DEC. They declined to provide further specifics as to where that facility might be.

“Therefore, the contamination present at the site will be cleaned up by the applicant with DEC oversight to ensure it meets the protective standards in place for the proposed residential redevelopment of this former industrial property,” said an agency representative.

The DEC first moved to develop a cleanup plan in 2006 with the site’s previous owner, Beacon Terminal Associates. After years of testing and development, the plan was completed in 2014.

The site’s owner, however, submitted a work plan to perform additional fieldwork before eventually choosing to implement the original cleanup plan. Beacon Terminal Associates then sold the site to Weber in 2016.

A fire in early 2017 damaged the site even further; the cause of the blaze has never been determined.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

The Skidmore College graduate has reported for The Current since 2014 and writes the "Out There" column. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Areas of Expertise: Environment, outdoors

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1 Comment

  1. I was very happy to hear that the factory bordering Madam Brett Park is to be re-developed. I am also happy that Rodney Weber will be the developer, as he always does a wonderful job of tying buildings with the surrounding environment as well as creating beautiful interior spaces. I am sure this project will be no different, and become another jewel in Beacon’s crown.

    I am also hopeful that this will move the city to complete the restoration of the old suspension bridge close by. It is of great historic importance and so far, little has been done to restore it. Pieces of this bridge lie in weeds at Beacon’s transfer station. Surely some of the tax money pouring into Beacon could be set aside for this purpose? If not, then grant writing should be undertaken. It’s a terrible shame this bridge still awaits resurrection.

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