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New Development For Bedford Playhouse Site Presented

Kenneth Horn, founder and president of Alchemy Properties. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
The Bedford Playhouse building, which includes the movie theatre and over retail. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A photo of a preliminary sketch showing the proposed development of a vacant part of the Bedford Playhouse site. It was presented at a Tuesday meeting. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A photo of a site plan for the preliminary proposal. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A photo of a site plan for the preliminary proposal. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

(This is the first of two stories regarding the proposal.)

BEDFORD, N.Y. – A preliminary proposal for a vacant portion of the Bedford Playhouse site in Bedford Village, dubbed a “test fit,” was presented Tuesday night at a Bedford Planning Board meeting where public feedback was sought by the developer.

The preliminary proposal calls for three buildings next to the theatre structure, two of which would face Old Post Road (Route 22) while the third would be in the back. The two front buildings would have a mix of residential and retail space, while the third would only have housing. A courtyard would be included, and there would be a mix of surface and covered parking spaces.

The concept includes a total of 7,000 square feet of retail space, 2,500 for restaurant space and 36,100 for residential units. There would be 32 housing units, which would range from one to three bedrooms. There would also be a total of 134 parking spaces.

The proposal was presented on behalf of Alchemy Properties, a development firm with experience in working with buildings in New York City, including the upper 30 floors of the Woolworth Building. The company's experience was discussed during the meeting.

The site is owned by Alchemy Bedford LLC, which is an affiliate of Alchemy Properties, according to Kenneth Horn, who founded the firm and is its president. Horn is an owner of both the affiliate and the developer.

Alchemy Bedford purchased the property, which is 3.14 acres and located at 633-647 Old Post Road, in June 2013 for $8.1 million from Phoenix Bedford LLC, according to data from the local assessor’s office. The property’s assessed value is $328,050 and its full market value is more than $3.1 million. The current owner is suing the old owner in state Supreme Court, claiming that the rent roll was misrepresented and that the property is worth $350,000 less.

The Planning Board meeting was described as a “charrette,” an occasion where public input is sought. Planning Board Chair Deirdre Courtney-Batson mentioned a similar meeting that was previously held and added that the property changed hands in the interim. Serving as moderator for the meeting was Donald Coe, a former Planning Board chair.

The parcel has two zones, according to Jeffrey Osterman, Bedford’s Director of Planning. Part of the site, which includes the Bedford Playhouse and other shops, has a commercial zone while the vacant half has residential zoning that only allows for single-family housing per two acres. The zoning could be changed, Osterman disclosed, which is an action that the Town Board would take.

Whitney Singleton, who is representing the Alchemy, said that developer does not want to do a project that the community does not want.

“We want your input,” said Singleton, who is also Mount Kisco’s village attorney.

Horn was similarly open to public feedback. He also mentioned local input that was gathered previously, with more retail, parking and housing being among interests.

Stephen Tilly, who is the project’s architect, gave the presentation. His firm has preservation-related experience in a number of communities.

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