Village officials say that they were notified of the company's decision to withdraw its application on Friday by its attorney, Alan Knauf. Wilmorite planned to buy the 25 and 35 Schoen Place property, along with a few additional acres, from the Powers family, who are well-known Pittsford farmers; Knauf is also representing them on the matter. Wilmorite proposed using the site for a 90-room, three-level boutique hotel, spa, and restaurant, as well as mixed-use office and retail space.
Wilmorite sent out this statement from President Paul Wilmot:
“On Friday, February 2, 2018, Wilmorite withdrew their application for developing 25 Schoen Place. The Village of Pittsford has put developments on hold with a moratorium. There is no reason to leave our application in a pending status when the village has uncertain zoning. This project has had a lot of support from village residents and it is disappointing to all of us how this has transpired. Wilmorite has an excellent relationship with the Powers family and will continue to explore development options.”Right from the start, the project was controversial. Village officials and some residents said the project should match Schoen Place's character and that the proposal on the table was too big to do so. They also pushed for the reuse of some old agricultural buildings on the site. Pittsford officials, business owners, and community members have spent many years transforming Schoen Place into an attractive and popular waterfront business district; it runs next to the Erie Canal for its whole half-mile length.
Things became more tense after the village board passed a development moratorium so it could update Pittsford's codes. Village Mayor Bob Corby said the code review and revision had been in the works for a while and had nothing to do with the Wilmorite proposal. But company executives said they believed they were being targeted.
- FILE PHOTO
- Wilmorite has temporarily withdrawn plans to redevelop 25 Schoen Place in the Village of Pittsford. The property is located in the village’s popular canalfront business district.
For example, the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation wrote to Wilmorite and recommended that the company explore ways to retain and reuse all or parts of the historic buildings it planned to tear down.
"Historic buildings cannot be demolished without SHPO approval," says the village's posting.
The State Department of Agriculture and Markets also weighed in with a caution that some of the land included in the project is under a conservation easement and cannot be used for commercial development, according to the village.
This post has been updated throughout the afternoon.