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Peekskill Apartment Builders Begin Rock Blasting On Former Convent Site

Luxury rental apartments, shown in an artist's rendering, will be going up in Peekskill on St. Mary's Hill, the site of a former convent and girls' school.
Luxury rental apartments, shown in an artist's rendering, will be going up in Peekskill on St. Mary's Hill, the site of a former convent and girls' school. Photo Credit: Ginsburg Development Companies

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- If you should happen to hear some booming coming from around the Fort Hill area of Peekskill today, don’t worry; the Revolutionary War hasn’t started up again.

What you will be hearing is the noise of rock blasting being done to prepare the site for the construction of part of a $50 million project that will include luxury apartments – plus a spa, inn and restaurant.

The city notified residents Tuesday that starting sometime Wednesday, Jan. 18, they will possibly be hearing what will sound like “dull thunder at best” as crews blast away rock outcroppings, said Jeffrey Roma, an assistant building inspector.

The explosions will be proceeded by two warning blasts of an air horn and followed by a single “all-clear” signal, city officials said.

It will be going on from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday through Fridays, possibly for the next six weeks.

Fort Hill, a 10-acre protected city park, is located on the eastern side of the former St. Mary’s Convent property.

Past proposals to develop the bluff overlooking the Hudson River had historians and preservationists worried about the fate of Revolutionary War redoubts and barracks there. The city successfully battled to have about 50 acres of the property left untouched by development.

Some artifacts have been found on the hill, but not in the area where the housing is being built, according to Jean Friedman, the city’s director of planning.

Studies have concluded that the barracks were likely located in the area of the nuns’ cemetery, she said.

Ginsburg Development Companies, which purchased about 24 acres of land from the religious order and the rest from another land owner, plans to start construction on 178 apartments this spring.

A spa, restaurant and inn are planned for the former convent while the chapel will be turned into a recreational facility with a fitness center.

Plans for 16 townhouses, which Ginsburg would like to build on Main Street – between Spring and Hadden streets – have not yet been approved, Friedman said.

Martin Ginsburg, the company’s principal, has said that the apartments’ “motif” will reflect the older architecture on St. Mary’s Hill, but in a more contemporary way.

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