Since 2018, Bantam has been engaged in the early stages of a scalable, organic and adaptive development project in the rapidly revitalizing historic Hudson River township of Newburgh, New York.
A Gilded Age urban manufacturing powerhouse and hub of commerce at the turn of the 20th century, with a thriving port and retail sector, Newburgh faced the same 20th century challenges as many urban townships in the Hudson Valley and elsewhere in the Northeast: automobile-induced sprawl, systemic changes in the manufacturing and shipping industries, declines in local commerce and subsequent population loss. Newburgh also suffered more specific planning and social setbacks: Highway 87 and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge bypassed the historic core and focused new development towards the suburbs, demolition-based renewal efforts replaced historic structures and residential neighborhoods with acres of fallow land and institutional buildings, and crime rates rose drastically as large swaths of the urban center were left abandoned.
However, over the last decade, a sporadic but accelerating revival of the waterfront and surrounding neighborhoods has been taking root, driven both by manufacturing operations relocating from NYC in search of affordable commercial real estate, and by individual homeowners attracted by the town’s architectural quality and location. With the largest historic district in the state, Newburgh’s eclectic mix of townhouse, factory and single family home typologies combine to make it one of the most architecturally dynamic and beautiful townships in the entire Northeast.
Only an hour from NYC, and with a host of local and state-sponsored programs and incentives available for restoring local buildings, Newburgh’s rebirth is under way. But the prospect of sterile or bland gentrification looms, and there are unusually significant systemic, logistical and architectural obstacles impeding the development of diverse investment projects. Bantam proposes, by leveraging expertise in design, historic preservation, permitting, construction administration and extensive boots-on-the-ground local research, to provide an opportunity for dynamic, community-based, carefully considered architectural development. Through the selection of high-impact locations, conscientious but ambitious design and programming, and in careful concert with existing community initiatives, local support and city programs, Bantam foresees the potential to realize a virtuous, rather than homogeneous, cycle of development, where neighborhood health, livability, diversity and community engagement increase with every project.
The first phase of Bantam development has been in progress since fall 2018, with construction underway at 77 Lander, an 1890 historic brick row house rebuild positioned on a corner at the center of one of the town’s most significant, and emptiest, residential neighborhoods.