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Developers Pelayo / Kitching Of Reveil Plan To Remake Property Of Hotel, Convention Center And Housing
Written by Tina Traster
The development team has benefited from the purchase and development of the HNA Palisades Training Center by the town of Orangetown, and HNA, the Chinese entity, has reached terms on the acquisition of the sprawling campus in Palisades.
“The parties have reached an initial agreement on terms, including the price,” said Theresa Kinney, the superintendent of Orange Town. “The city is not a party to any agreement, and I am optimistic that the parties will continue to work together to bring this to a mutually beneficial outcome.”
According to the memorandum of understanding between the city and the developers, Kitching/Pelayo, who formed the Delaware Limited Liability Company Reveil LLC, the developer was obligated to submit a bid within 20 days of signing the agreement with the city. The agreement was signed on October 12, 2021.
The acquisition price hasn’t been revealed but the road is long – from the announcement of the sale of the 106-acre property nearly two years ago to the town’s decision in January of 2021 to introduce itself to help guide the fate of the privately owned site.
Public records show that HNA recently agreed to a consent ruling in favor of Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc. for unpaid utility bills totaling $436,708. In an affidavit filed with the Rockland County Superior Court, Johnson Chu, HNA’s representative, swore in court on March 24 that HNA intended to honor the judgment and any other money owed for operation and recovery upon closing of the property which “expected to occur within six months.”
While the city is not a party to the agreement between HNA and Reveil, it has played a role in matching the developer with property owners at 334 Route 9W and positioning itself at the center of a hopeful deal that will transform the campus if the vision initiated by developers James Pelayo and Mark Kitching comes to fruition.
The Kitching/Pelayo design envisions a modernized 206-room hotel/convention center, restaurant, bar, world-class spa, event space, staff accommodation, helipad, community market with retail, five-acre working farm and farmers’ market, luxury camping, daycare, 50 production studios and a production studio 000, offices, and at least 100 co-working spaces and other creative workshop spaces. Also, from 20 to 30 homes, plus catering and testing kitchens.
The Kitching/Pelayo team, now known as Reveil, publicly presented their proposal on June 2, 2021 through a ZOOM meeting in town, along with two other developers: Procida Funding Group and its team; And Rick Cook from Cook/Fox Architects.
In January 2021, Orange Town released an RFEI for a developer to transform the campus. RFEI came on the heels of HNA’s failed attempt to sell the property to a Brooklyn developer who offered $40 million but was unsuccessful in raising funds to close the deal.
Kitching is a real estate broker for Douglas Elleman and James Pelayo is a home builder. Kitching, director of Douglas Elliman’s real estate division, sells luxury homes in California and Pelayo, from Sunia Homes, a small developer of eco-efficient ultra-modern homes, also in California.
The couple originally said the team included New Valley Realty, a real estate investment company of New Valley LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vector Group Ltd (NYSE: VGR). New Valley CEO Howard M. Lorber, invests in renovations and conversion of office and rental properties into condominiums, underperforming assets, land development and sales, urban resorts and hotels, and primary rental buildings. However, financier Lorber is no longer part of the team. Officials say the California-based developers have found new sources of funding for the ambitious project.
With over $400 million in sales, Kitching represented properties designed by influential architects, including A. His biography is online. Ranked among the top 100 Los Angeles dealerships by volume as reported by REAL Trends.
In 2003, Pelayo built his first home at Sunia House in Echo Park California — 2,000 square feet and filled with green features like solar panels, a gray water system, rainwater harvesting, and a stove that burns wood pellets. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home took four months and cost $350,000 to build.
Pelayo turned that subjective experience into a model for developing Sunia Homes in other urban areas. Sunia Homes is built to make environmentally sound communities using low water, little waste and food grown on site.
Also listed as ‘architect’ at Cornell Farms in Lagrange Township in Dutchess County, Pelayo is a redevelopment project that proposes 55 eco-built single-family group homes, a farm-to-table restaurant, farmhouse stores and creamer, and a brewery/cemetery with 166 parking spaces.
For Cornell Farms, Pelayo teamed up with hedge fund manager Tom Lee, who bought 182 acres in 2019 for $2.4 million. The plan had been on hold for 18 months before the Town of LaGrange Planning Board, developers received a negative advertisement on their SEQRA app, but there was little activity on this pending app.
“It’s been a long road for sure, and HNA didn’t make it easy, but I hope we’re all the way home,” said Teresa Kinney.