The Troy Local Development Corporation, a city-controlled nonprofit, has sued two companies controlled by contractor Charles “J.R.” Casale, alleging they failed to remove stockpiles of concrete debris from a South Troy industrial site and vacate the premises by a previously agreed-upon date.
The two companies are Hudson River Natural Product Recycling, the lessee, and Casale Construction, Hudson River’s guarantor. Hudson River leased 3.75 acres of the 4.34 acre site, located just north of the Wynantskill Creek, from the LDC in December 2013 “for the purposes of developing and operating a registered materials recycling facility,” according to court papers.
The parties entered into a settlement agreement last year in January, after the LDC initiated an eviction proceeding related to an alleged default. Hudson River agreed to leave the site by June 30, 2017 and remove its equipment and the stockpile. If it did not leave by that date, the company would be evicted and forced to pay for the stockpile’s removal, the agreement says. The tenant would also owe $3,000 in rent for every month it (or its property) occupied the site.
Casale Construction paid $3,000 in holdover rent in July, but has not made any other payments in the eight months that followed, despite “multiple demands” from the LDC’s counsel, the lawsuit says.
The LDC “has obtained quotes from companies for the removal of the stockpiles,” which “range between $62,880.00 and $67,500.00,” assuming the material is “non-hazardous,” according to the lawsuit.
Draft minutes from an LDC meeting in January suggest that, other than the stockpile, Hudson River may not have much of a presence at the site. Steve Strichman, Troy’s planning commissioner and executive director of the LDC, “noted that [the tenant] was making progress cleaning the site after being evicted, but it slowed in August,” the minutes state. “The chairman advised that we need resolve this issue before any work starts up at this site.” (The minutes don’t say what that work might be.)
Charles Casale did not return a message left for him Wednesday afternoon at Casale Construction. Strichman also did not return a request for comment.
The parcel of land involved in the lawsuit is one of three owned by the LDC in the area that Troy’s draft comprehensive plan dubs the “Burden District”—essentially a modernized industrial park with a “logical road network that links land parcels” and connects to the long-planned industrial road, “eliminating the need for trucks to travel within the residential areas of South Troy.”
One of those LDC-owned parcels, a 16-acre riverfront site on the other side of the Wynantskill Creek, “is pending a $30M+ remediation by National [Grid] to address historic subsurface contamination issues resulting from disposal of tar, slag, ash and other wastes from former plant and steel industries in the vicinity,” a city-compiled infosheet says. The draft plan calls for the remediation of this and other sites in the area to be expedited.
A conceptual map of the Burden District included in the draft plan—which Strichman, the planning commissioner, previously told us not to interpret too literally—depicts multiple new manufacturing or warehousing buildings, a surface parking lot, a new street, and a small riverfront seating area at the site currently involved in the lawsuit.
Immediately north of the contested terrain is a seven-acre, vacant parcel owned by Troy Materials Group, LLC, which lists on the tax rolls a contact person affiliated with C.D. Perry, a construction company that also owns the riverside parcel further north where the road salt pile is currently located.
Tyler Fane, operations manager for C.D. Perry, told The Alt in an email Wednesday night that the company bought the seven-acre site “about ten years ago with the intention of moving the salt pile to the south end,” but a lingering issue “is the lack of a rail spur to the property to unload salt or other materials efficiently.”
Read the draft comprehensive plan’s concept for the Burden District below.