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City of Orangetown still interested in buying former Nyack College campus


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Supervisor Kenny says city and yeshiva failed to reach agreement

By Tina Traster

The city of Orangetown may be interested in buying the old Nyack College campus if, in fact, the owners are willing to sell. The city negotiated with the Hasidic Yeshiva over a possible purchase of the properties, offering between $63 million and $70 million, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

But for now, City Supervisor Teresa Kenny says, “Despite our best efforts, the parties have been unable to reach an agreement.”

It remains unclear whether the two sides will continue to negotiate, but this is the second time the City Council has shown an interest in playing a significant role in directing the fate of a large chunk of the city. The city is also trying to shape the redevelopment of the HNA Palisades Training Center on Route 9W.

In late 2020, Nyack College sold its campus, which includes the Alliance Theological Seminary on Route 9W in Upper Nyack, to Yeshivath Viznitz DK Hal Torath Chaim Inc., a Hasidic congregation for $45.5 million.

The city is meeting in executive session Tuesday night to discuss real estate matters, including this issue, sources say.

It’s unclear what vision the city would have in mind if it purchased the site.

The 2020 closure on Nyack College property came within 24 hours of South Nyack voting to disband the 142-year-old village government and become part of the town of Orangetown.

The two events were intimately linked. Fear of future development on the 107-acre former Nyack College campus and the potential cost of fighting land-use lawsuits ultimately caused many of the village’s 1,982 registered voters to break away from their long legacy in favor of the financial power of Orangetown.

To date, the college has presumably operated as a religious school for 250 students, 250 high school students, and an unknown number of faculty, staff, and family members to live on campus. But over the years, RCBJ has learned that the college continues to hold forward-looking discussions with a range of buyers about selling the college.

The college itself operates on a small portion of the entire plot. It remains unclear whether the Viznitz community intends to expand the campus or sell portions of it, although it would need zoning changes for density housing.

The total City of Orangetown budget in 2022 was approximately $82 million, of which $6.75 million is already allocated to service debt on existing bonds and other obligations. A bond of nearly $70 million, with an interest rate of around 4-5%, would likely cost taxpayers an additional $2.8 million in debt service.

On June 20, RCBJ reported that the team of California-based developers was approached a year ago by the city of Orangetown to purchase and transform the 106-acre HNA Palisades Training Center campus at 334 Route 9W in Palisades. REVEIL LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, is seeking financing to purchase the property for $33 million, but it remains unclear if the potential developers need more than 100% financing or have any investment partners.

But the planned sale of the HNA Palisades training center was doubly complicated following two legal developments. First, a complaint filed recently by the former potential buyer claimed that the Chinese company had breached its contract.

Subsequently, a federal judge in New York ruled that HNA Group, at least temporarily, cannot sell or transfer any assets (or interest in any assets) that HNA owns, including the proceeds of any sale of the Palisades Conference Center. in Rockland County.

SL Green blames the fact that HNA’s “indirect” ownership of the Palisades Conference Center could still result in HNA Group receiving the sale proceeds, even though it is not the record owner of the property.

The case arose out of efforts by a subsidiary of SL Green, the Manhattan-based REIT, to uphold an arbitration award it obtained for $185 million against HNA Group (International) Company Ltd.

Although city officials remain hopeful, last February they were considering having the site appraised in a bid to have the property passed through eminent domain. No action has yet been taken.