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Riverspace Development Plans

On Monday, March 3, 2008, Riverspace held a public meeting to discuss a proposal to develop the downtown “superblock” currently occupied by the building on Main Street holding the theatre and businesses, the M&T building, and all the parking owned by the Village of Nyack. The project is at the very earliest stages, where the Riverspace and M&T property have been secured with options, but there has been no feasibility analysis yet.

The developer would be a non-profit corporation, run by Josh Goldberg and Debbie Reich, who are on the Riverspace board. The concept is to have a mixed use development with an arts center as the anchor. The M&T and Riverspace buildings would be taken down and the street grid restored. The project would include a parking structure, retail, office and possibly residential space. One idea is to have a park on the roof (that’s right, with trees, grass, etc.) of the building which would panoramic views. The idea of having a non-profit would be to use the revenues to help subsidize the arts use, rather than having it as profits earmarked for the developer and investors. Even though it was not stated, the proposal is to have the Village give the parking property to the developer for the project.

The Riverspace theatre was nearly full, with probably 450 attending the meeting (the theatre has 583 seats). There was a “panel”
making the presentation, including Bill Irwin, co-Artistic Director Elliott Forrest, Josh Goldberg, Debbie Reich. School
Superintendent and Riverspace board member Valencia Douglas gave a short speech in support. NYC developers Richard Dattner and Daniel Heuberger from Dattner Architects, who said they would do the project, gave a presentation.

There was a lively follow up discussion, mostly with a positive tone with reservations. Various politicians stood up and
supported the project, including Thom Kleiner, Town of Orangetown Supervisor, and Mayor John Shields, who said “if not this, then
what”. A primary concern with the project was financing, and the risk of village property owners being responsible in the end if
the project loses money. The development would benefit most of Rockland County, and definitely residents of Upper Nyack, South
Nyack, West Nyack and the Town, but they would get all the benefit with none of the risk.

The meeting in the end was inspirational in the turnout and overall energy of hope and support. There will be follow up
discussions on April 7, May 5 and on June 5 the findings will be discussed. Information will be available and suggestions taken

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