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This Historic Poughkeepsie Development Will Revitalize a Longstanding Arlington School


After closing its doors in 2014, the Arthur S. May Elementary School will reopen as a hotel, commercial, and residential center on Raymond Avenue.

Arthur S May School Poughkeepsie

Renderings by Balzer & Tuck Architecture

‘Tis the year of revitalization in the Hudson Valley.

Along the Hudson River, construction on historic spaces abounds. In Newburgh, tired buildings and historic factories are transforming into massive makers villages and sleek mixed-use apartments spaces. Over in Fishkill, the battered Dutchess Mall site is on its way to becoming a new campus for Dutchess Community College. Meanwhile, in Montgomery Mills, City Winery finds its roots on the site of a one-time grist mill in Orange County.

Now, all heads are turning to Poughkeepsie. Just a skip away from Vassar College and the new Savona’s Trattoria, the old Arthur S. May Elementary School at 25-31 Raymond Avenue is ready for a second life. The school, which dates back to the 1920s and was part of the Arlington Central School District, closed its doors in 2014 and has remained vacant ever since.

For the past three years, Arthur May Redevelopment, LLC, (AMR), an affiliate of the family-owned, Poughkeepsie-based PAZ Management, Inc., has chipped away at a site plan for approval by the Town of Poughkeepsie Planning Board. It received the OK in January and seeks to break ground later in 2020.

Arthur S May School Poughkeepsie

Once PAZ, which specializes in assisted living, commercial, and housing venues in the Hudson Valley, begins construction, it will slowly but surely transform the 6.8-acre site into a mixed-use setting that is centrally located in Poughkeepsie’s Arlington district. If its past successes with the management of the nearby Vassar and Raymond Shops and the Hampton Inn & Suites on Route 9 are any indication, the project is already well on its way to success.

“With so many popular restaurants, shops, and walkable areas surrounding Vassar College, the vibrant Arlington Town Center has an undeniable attraction to residents, neighbors, and visitors,” says Vice President of PAZ Management, Inc. Jacob Reckess. “We are honored to have the opportunity to enhance this community by thoughtfully revitalizing the former Arthur S. May Elementary School into beautiful, functional, and livable places people will enjoy for years to come.”

Just as the AMR development will reside prominently within the Arlington district, so too will it add to the attractions within the area. Once complete, AMR will unveil a multi-faceted property with both commercial and residential components. Within the mixed-use center, there will be 187 modern, energy efficient, market rate rental units divided between six buildings. These units will be a medley of one- and two-bedroom spaces with 9-foot ceilings, open floor plans, and energy efficient appliances. All residents will have access to the onsite covered parking, dog park, fitness center, package pickup service, and recreation area as well.

Nearby, 18,000 square feet will be dedicated to commercial and retail enterprises, while another building will house a 110-key hotel in collaboration with a national brand to accommodate visitors to nearby colleges and attractions like the Walkway Over the Hudson. The sidewalks will be heated, and everything in the center will be within walkable distance to Raymond Avenue.

“I have been involved with this development from the beginning and believe that it will attract young professionals who are looking for a walkable community to live in, with interesting places to shop and dine in,” notes Ann Shershin, a Poughkeepsie Town Board member for the sixth ward, where the project resides. “The Arlington Business Improvement District supports the development and believes it will attract visitors and new businesses to the area.”

In context, the demolition and redevelopment of the school is a significant win for the local tax base, since it’s the first time in more than 95 years that the property will join the revenue system. Currently, the estimated tax proposal will add more than $15 million of payments to the local taxing jurisdictions over the course of the next 25 years. To go along with it, AMR will work to improve traffic flow in the area so as to minimize congestion around Raymond Avenue and the East-West Arterial.

“This project is a win for the entire community,” enthuses Frank Castella, Jr., the president and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The developer…is to be commended for its willingness to lead and invest through this signature project, which will complete the Arlington Town Center.”

What do you think about the Arthur S. May development? Let us know in the comments!

Related: Here’s How to Spend a Perfect 24 Hours in Poughkeepsie