YONKERS, N.Y. – An iconic Yonkers power station on the verge of revival is in need of a spring cleaning.
Glenwood POH, LLC, the consortium of developers behind the transformation of the Glenwood Power Plant, has filed a Brownfield Cleanup application with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
In it, developers said their $200 million plan to convert the century-old brick building into a hotel and conference center could be completed as soon as 2014. However, there is some cleanup that has to be done.
Glenwood POH said tests have shown there to be lead, arsenic, mercury and other metals around the coal-burning power plant, along with the possibility of asbestos contamination. That alone has scared away some potential funding, the application said.
“Lenders in the past were hesitant because they were concerned about contamination,” developers said in the Brownfield application.
Constructed between 1904 and 1906, as part of rail electrification, the building at 45 Grant Water Way served as a coal-burning power plant for decades before it was shut down in 1978. Aside from the occasional film shoot or curious trespasser, it has remained empty ever since.
In 2008, the power station was named to the Preservation League’s Seven to Save list, designating it as one of the most important buildings in the state in need of upholding. Originally, however, developers believed the structure couldn’t be salvaged and planned to demolish the building, turning the lot into residential units.
But after a study showed that much of the building can be reused, Glenwood POH has designed a project centered on keeping the structure – and its two iconic smokestacks – intact.
The decision has drawn plenty of praise around Yonkers.
“We’re delighted he’s planning to save the building,” said Terry Joshi, president of the Yonkers Committee for Smart Development. “It’s really an iconic property, not just for Yonkers but for New York State.”
Still, the building is in need of an "obvious facelift," developers said.
"It has been an eyesore on the Hudson River since the outer walls of one of the buildings has a large crack and appears to be ready to fall into the river at any time," they said in the application.
Despite the task ahead, the goal is to complete remediation in 2013, with the final construction expected to wrap up in May 2014, according to developers. When finished, they envision a hotel and convention center that is an international destination, hosting celebrations and other entertainment.
Last month, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano pledged his support for the plan, naming it as one of three projects he has prioritized to receive funding from the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. City Council President Chuck Lesnick said he too believes the proposal was an exciting venture for Yonkers.
“It’ll bring jobs to Yonkers and it’s the sort of thing that will have the ‘wow’ effect on the waterfront,” he said. “It’ll be spectacular.”