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Paramount Country Club In New City Proposing 247 Unit Housing Development Adjacent To Golf Course

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Revived Project Will Require Town of Clarkstown To Change Zone To Accommodate Plan

By Tina Traster

In 2021, the owners of Paramount Country Club in New City floated the concept of building 200 town homes and five single-family houses on 36 acres of vacant land it owns adjacent to its golf course and country club.

The plan, which required a change of zoning to permit residential development, was met with indifference.

Now, the Mandelbaum family, which owns the Paramount Country Club and golf course, have reinvigorated the proposal, saying Clarkstown and county officials seem to have warmed up to the idea. The number of units, however, has risen to 247.

“There’s a significant demand for aging-in-place residential development,” said Steven Lapper, president of Paramount and an advisor on the project. “Residents who want to sell larger single-family homes and stay in the community, can’t. The county’s at or near peak. It’s not unique to Rockland but it’s dire.”

Paramount envisions a “Florida-style,” amenity-chocked, market-rate residential housing community that would appeal to an older, possibly retired demographic. The plan calls for 128 townhouses, 84 condominiums, 33 single-family golf villas and two single-family lots. The proposal would add 531 parking spaces to the now-vacant land.

The draw of the plan includes access to amenities such as the golf course, dining, pools, tennis, pickleball and a gym.

To date, Dells Inc., the Mandelbaum’s development corporate entity, has not submitted a formal proposal to the town’s Technical Advisory Committee, nor has the applicant sent a site plan proposal to the town Planning Board.

But in a preemptive move, the Mandelbaums have put up a website on the proposed plan to garner support and excitement for the project.

“We are at the informative stage,” said Lapper, adding he expects plans will be submitted within the next couple of months. “We’re trying to inform every one of our plans.”

The developer has been meeting informally with Town Supervisor George Hoehmann, town officials, engineers, planners, as well as County Executive Ed Day and county planning officials.

To sweeten the deal, the developer is offering to place a deed restriction on the existing golf course and country club, which covers roughly 65 percent of the 217-acre property. The Paramount Country Club, formerly the private estate of Adolf Zukor, the founder of Paramount Pictures, has long served as an award-winning championship par 70 golf course, tennis and swim club.

Paramount will need a zone change for the residential portion of the parcel, most of which is on R-160 zoned land, which allows for a single-family house per four acres. Allowing dense housing on R-160 would set a dangerous precedent to the town’s R-160 conservation land. Instead, the applicant will have to persuade the town to change the zoning to meet its needs.

“Any new project that requires a zone change would face the same hurdles identified in the past application for a zone change,” said Town Planner Joe Simoes. Zone changes are permissible  – there is no right to one. Also, due to the site’s location within 500 feet of a County stream and park, a GML 239 referral would be needed when a formal application is submitted to the Town. A GML 239 referral is a review by the Rockland County Planning Department for compliance with codes and comprehensive plans.

The Livingston, New Jersey-based Mandelbaum family bought the land in 2007 and the golf and country club operation in 2009, according to Lapper. The Mandelbaums are a prominent real estate family who usually partner with developers and financial partners to build their projects. They are also a minority owner of the Minnesota Vikings football team. They do not appear to have any previous development projects in Rockland County.

Lapper said the Mandelbaums are “currently the developers of this plan.”

On its information website, Paramount points out that the “New York Country Club on 150 acres, in neighboring New Hempstead, was sold to a Monsey-based firm and plans on developing the entire property, eventually extinguishing the golf and recreation amenities.” The website also says the recently sold Minisceongo Golf Club in Ramapo plans to build 637 townhouses.

Part of Paramount’s pitch is to ensure the golf course and country club are preserved, and bolstered by a residential housing development that will inject economic stimulus. On its website, it makes this argument: “There is a risk that the property is developed into something undesirable in the future.”

The developers also say the project would bring $3 million in annual tax revenues, according to an analysis by Ann Cutignola, Senior Planner at Tim Miller Associates in Cold Spring.

When Paramount submitted its plans in 2021, it had told town officials that there had been a decline in interest in country club membership and attendance. But Lapper said COVID boosted an interest in golf, which was seen as a “safe” pandemic-era sport, and that the club is thriving.

“The club is not struggling,” said Lapper. “COVID was a major boon to golf. This project is not being proposed to offset any risk to its economic viability.”

At present, clubhouse members pay a $3,500 initiation fee and $6,000 a year in dues.

Lapper says there’s robust interest in the project based on feedback from the website and community canvassing from club members and nearby neighbors.

The market-rate community will not be age restricted; several of the configurations are large enough for families, while the condos are more suitable for empty nesters.

The proposed two- and four-bedroom ranch-style golf villas, on lots 72’ wide x 120’ deep, will be between 1,700 square feet to 2,800 square feet. Townhouses will range from 1,800 square feet to 3,000 square feet.

The one-bedroom condos are slated to be between 750 to 850 square feet, while two bedrooms are between 900 square feet and 1,300 square feet.

The project does not have an affordable housing component, but the developer says it is willing to set aside a yet-to-be-determined number of units to be rented by first responders. The first responder housing request surfaced in conversations with town officials.

There are several housing projects pending in New City.

The owner of the Shoprite shopping center on North Main Street in New City hopes to transform an underutilized portion of its property to build a new mixed-use residential tower and two new retail buildings. K/BTF New City, LLC of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey acquired the 14-acre property comprised of eight lots in October 2022. The acquisition included the shopping center parcels on North Main Street and 13 and 17 East Evergreen Road in New City.

The shopping center developer appeared before TAC on April 17th with a proposal to demolish several small structures, including three residences that sit behind the shopping center on East Evergreen Road, and construct a 4,000 square-foot bank building with a drive-thru and a 4,000 square-foot retail building along North Main Street. The plan also includes a seven-story, 165,000 square foot, mixed-use building with two levels of parking, one level of retail (12,214sf) space and 140 residential units (152,864 square feet) made up of studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms on five floors above the retail spaces. There was no mention of affordable housing units.

The redevelopment and inclusion of a residential component was made possible after Town of Clarkstown amended its zoning code in 2023 in the New City Hamlet District. The new zoning is part of the implementation of Clarkstown’s Comprehensive Plan.

Last September, representatives from Bridon Realty Co., LLC and NewCo Development LLC of 254 South Main Street in New City, owners of an office tower and retail shopping center along South Main Street have proposed a plan to develop what they are calling New City Living – the redevelopment of portions of the DeCicco Market shopping center and the neighboring office tower to the south. The plan calls for razing the former Bow Tie Cinema movie theater to make room for a six-story, 152-unit luxury apartment complex.

New City Living envisions a six-story, 152-unit, hotel style, state-of-the-art, concierge residential building with a swimming pool, and other amenities, similar to what is “normally seen down south or in Florida,” according to testimony given at the TAC meeting. The building would include 71 one-bedroom apartments and 81 two-bedroom apartments, and seven or eight affordable units.