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Legionaries Developer Submits Plan for 'The Spa at New Castle'

Developer Stephen Oder has submitted a formal petition for his proposal to redevelop the Legionaries of Christ site in eastern New Castle. The plan includes 54 condos, 30 hotel rooms and a spa.

The redevelopment proposal for the Legionaries of Christ site now has a name: The Spa at New Castle.

Stephen Oder, head of New Jersey-based Soder Real Estate Equities, LLC submitted a formal petition for the mixed-use project to the town on Tuesday; the documents were posted on New Castle's website the following day.

Oder has an option to buy the property, located at 773 Armonk Road (Route 128), from the Catholic religious order if he gets town approval. The property is in the Bedford Central School District.

The petition calls for 54 condo units, 30 hotel rooms, a spa and possibly a restaurant. Oder previously disclosed the outlines of his plan last month at a town board work session.

The proposal involves repurposing a 1920s mansion and demolishing its 1950s-era east and west wings. The wings would be replaced with new ones of 62,500 square feet each, both of which would contain 25 of the condo units. A total of four condo units would be situated in the mansion structure. The units in the new wings will each have two bedrooms and be 2,500 square feet. The four units in the mansion will be smaller, although dimensions were not listed in the petition.

A new hotel building, which would be located to the south of the replacement west wing, would have 10,000 square feet of space, and 650 to 750 square feet per hotel room or suite.

The mansion itself would get an overhaul and include public space, with amenities for the spa or restaurant on the first floor. Pool space would be located around a terrace area facing north on the site.

The project also calls for reusing an existing chapel, 200 parking spaces; the spaces would be a mixed of covered and uncovered spots, with basketball and tennis courts placed over a covered parking lot.

The site, which is 96.4 acres, does not have compatible zoning for the proposal; the property is zone for 2-acre residential usage, or R-2A. Oder is requesting a zoning text amendment, establishing a new floating zone that would accomodate a "Resort Lifestyle Complex." The floating zone would only apply to town parcels with 75 or more acres. The petition also offers to work out zoning details with the town, such as density and development coverage.

The petition filing follows months in which Oder, through informal talks with the town board, made several alterations to his plan. The first iteration, unveiled at a September town board work session, called for 66 condo units, 30 hotel rooms and a spa; four side buildings would've been built for the housing. A second version, disclosed to the town in October, had an all-residential mix, with 80 multifamily-based housing units, with eight, 3-story buildings.

The petition filed is based on an update that Oder gave to the board at a work session last month, which was met with receptive interest from board members, and a February petition filing goal for the developer. At the meeting, Supervisor Susan Carpenter asked whether the plan works with the septic needs of the property. A study was submitted with the petition from White Plains-based engineering firm Woodard & Curran, which found that the site has enough capacity for wastewater disposal.

Meanwhile, the petition states that the proposal is consistent with the "general policies and goals" of the town's master plan, which last had a major update in 1989. It also suggestions that the town's update for the master plan, which will get under way soon, "could also address the virtues of the proposed "Resort Lifestyle Complex," or similar mixed-use developments in appropriate locations."

The next step in the process, New Castle Town Attorney Clinton Smith told Patch, could involve the town board decided whether it is interested. If yes is the case, then the board would want a "complete" application with information that the board feels is needed. Steps would also include referral to the planning board and, eventually, deciding on whether an environmental impact statement is needed.

David Steinmetz and Brad Schwartz, who are attorneys for Soder, are asking for the town board to start the review process for proposal, including the environmental portion. They would like for the board to declare its intent to be the lead agency for the environmental review.

Tom Auchterlonie February 21, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Now that we have more details on the plan, do you feel it's something to support? If you have concerns about it, what are they?

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