CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – After months of feedback from the New Castle Town Board and from residents on its five-story, 36-unit building at 54 Hunts Place dubbed Chappaqua Station, Conifer Realty presented a “different concept” of what its previously proposed Tuesday night in New Castle Town Hall.
Taking into consideration what it has heard, Conifer said it came to the realization that, in Chappaqua, smaller is better.
The most recent Chappaqua Station iteration would weigh in at four stories and 28 apartment units, along with an intention to be more aesthetically pleasing.
“I think this it’s a very different concept than what we’ve shared previously. We think it’s a very good shift,” said Conifer Senior Vice President Andy Bodewes.
Bodewes explained why cutting the initial 36-apartment unit proposal has been a lengthy ordeal.
“We had a commitment with the state of New York for the 36 apartment units. The state policy on that is once you have a financial commitment is that you can’t do that,” he said. “We got to the point where the state wasn’t necessarily comfortable with the reduction of the apartment unit count to do that, but in the end I think they see the benefit of what it can bring. So they’re firmly behind it at this point.”
Joining Bodewes in the presentation was one of the lead architects responsible for the design, Kitchen & Associates Managing Principal Stephen Schoch.
“We all know this is a tough spot,” said Schoch. “We think this concept would benefit Chappaqua and fit in.”
Schoch explained the newest design and said its inspiration came from all the feedback received.
“The fundamental change here is a drastic drop in the number of units. That 22, 23 percent of units—losing eight of them. That fundamentally changes how we can approach design. That approach is informed by a lot of what we’ve heard,” he said.
However, Schoch said Conifer was also aware that the size of the design is only half the battle. How it looks and fits in as part of downtown Chappaqua is the other.
“A lot was spoken about, ‘Can’t you have some ins and outs—meaningful ins and outs to break down that mass? Break it down into smaller pieces.’ We also heard, ‘Can’t you take the mass and break it down side to side?’” he said.
The New Castle Town Board’s reaction was mostly positive. While the decrease in mass and new look were unanimously seen as vast improvements, concerns remained about the building’s direct connection to the Quaker Road bridge and the amount of outdoor space available for tenants.
“I like this design; I think it will look great,” said Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter. “But I’m still concerned with the lack of outdoor community space. The residents have no outdoor space to sit—they need more room to breathe.”
Bodewes and Schoch said Conifer can iron out such issues once the Town Board gives enough of a positive indication that their direction on the new design was a good one.
“It is a good direction to go in, and I’d like to see you take it further,” said Carpenter.
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