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Michael Bruno unveils bold “rural Americana” vision for Tuxedo

Posted on 27 January 2016 by Editor

Call it a Ramapo Mountain renaissance. Call it the appeal of Parklandia. These highland hills are alive with developers’ dreams, those visions of apartments and cottage homes nestled next to parkland and easy rail access direct to Manhattan.

The New York Post story on Michael Bruno's plans for Tuxedo's future by Heidi Mitchell with photos by Brett Beyer. On the Town cover story layout via the New York Post.

The New York Post story on Michael Bruno’s plans for Tuxedo’s future by Heidi Mitchell with photos by Brett Beyer. On the Town cover layout via the New York Post.

No matter all that. Michael Bruno’s Tuxedo Hudson Company unveiled a bold blueprint for Tuxedo and that rustic stretch of Route 17 that runs through Sloatsburg.

A splashy spread in Wednesday’s New York Post Alexa print edition displays Bruno’s plan – an exciting and smart rustic oasis of foodie, antique and arts culture, surrounded by parkland that will invest locals as well as draw urban entrepreneurs.

Bruno's vision involves converting three downtown Tuxedo properties into new attractions, including the Tuxedo Junction and adjacent retail and rental building. Rendering courtesy of Debraw & Dehann Architects.

Bruno’s vision involves converting three downtown Tuxedo properties into new food-centric attractions, including the Tuxedo Junction and adjacent retail and rental building. Photo via New York Post. Click to enlarge.

Bruno made a fortune using his sharp eye and keen knack for seeing something and then making it happen — call it a super sense of how to scale and sale his vision.

The Post story by Heidi Mitchell with photos by Brett Beyer is electric with rich detail (typical for Mitchell’s cultural snapshots of well-heeled America) and is the kind of article that makes one want to carry the paper around and proffer to people about a big event that’s about to happen, asking, hey, did you see the Post?

The After building is what the Tuxedo Junction property would become, with the right photo Before shot of the BackHome Antiques and Tuxedo convenience store on Route 17. Via New York Post.

The After building (left) is what the Tuxedo Junction property would become, with the right photo Before shot of the BackHome Antiques and Tuxedo convenience store on Route 17. Via New York Post. Click photo to enlarge.

Tuxedo doesn’t need a casino with a new generation like Bruno, willing to invest with vision in the surrounding community, much like its founders did, many far-ranging titans of early Wall Street or their eclectic friends of fortune — Bruno’s tech hub is housed at Loomis Lab itself.

The draw, Bruno said in the article is “beautiful houses, low prices, access to the city, endless nature. We came up to buy a house, and I guess I just couldn’t help myself.”

Bruno exudes a friendly enthusiasm for the area, where he has spent millions buying barns to farms, from 120 prime Tuxedo Park acres complete with lakeside home to the Tuxedo Junction property and adjacent convenience store building, both on main street. He recently landed the old greenhouse property with old stonework along Route 17 in Sloatsburg next to Sunnysides. Bruno will tear down the property’s burnt-out old yellow house.

The Tuxedo Hudson Company also has a hand in the Chester Agriculture Center, a for-profit collective that is buying swathes of Orange County farmland to lease to innovative, organic farmers.

The whole vibe Bruno and company envision is only 40 miles from Midtown Manhattan.

Bruno appears to have the resources and will to spark something to life in and around Tuxedo — the creation of a complete foodie and arts culture that connects interesting people with an authentic rustic landscape. The whole effort is a much-needed “New Urbanist vision” for a blighted area. Bruno has put a lot of chips down on this location and seems sure of his bet.

And he may be in just the right place at the right time with an authentic approach.

In Mitchell’s article, Bruno set the scene:

Imagine you’re driving up Route 17 and all of sudden you see sloping grass, horse-fencing, a few rustic barns with the doors swung open and some tables, a farmers market and a restaurant? It will change the psychology of how people feel about Tuxedo. And hopefully that will spur a movement.”

Read Heidi Mitchell’s New York Post article here.

 

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22 Comments For This Post

  1. sissy Says:

    Just a question? Where will all the people live who now inhabit the rather rundown homes on 17 north in Sloatsburg where all this proposed building will be going? I think it is great planning and wish and hope it does come to fruition because presently the area is so neglected. Still I wonder and have hesitation.

  2. Editor Says:

    The idea is to create and build around local character and culture in an authentic way. New construction, both residential and commercial, should reflect elements of the local historical story. Around these parts that would include interesting stone and wood details. Just look around at the older remaining buildings.

    Rundown homes and Route 17 can be reclaimed locally. Sloatsburg can be much more than it is – it’s also flush with surrounding parklands and buzzing with creativity and possibility. Actions toward improving the Village and area economy through efforts that fit the local culture and character could bear fruit for years to come.

    Fingers crossed. It looks like a constellation of groups are starting to work together to help improve local culture and character and economy.

  3. Anne Nissen Says:

    It may well be possible to spruce up downtown Tuxedo, but what I actually see being proposed here is tearing down buildings by important American architect Bruce Price and replacing them with anodyne decorated sheds. Surely it is possible to renovate the existing buildings instead of building trendy structures that kind of look like Pottery Barn stores. As for barns and the suggestion of farming, historic uses of the land in the Hudson Highlands include iron mining and seasonal hunting by the Ramapough. It must be possible to come up with a better strategy that celebrates nature and has more authenticity.

  4. Tuxedo Fan Says:

    Anne, I think you may have misunderstood the significance of, and the proposed changes to, the three buildings in the hamlet that are being altered. The Tuxedo Junction Inn will be substantially revised to accommodate the new restaurant, but it’s not a Bruce Price building. It’s a mid- to late 20th century, one-story commercial building with little architectural or historic value. The food market is also not by Bruce Price, although it was designed over 100 years ago by a pair of equally prominent architects. That building, however, is being restored to its original, early-20th century appearance, or at least that’s what the rendering suggests. The duplex building behind the food market – the one that will house the new inn – could be a Bruce Price building, but it’s not one that was particularly innovative or representative of his style. The various A-frames throughout the hamlet are much better examples of his legacy. Plus, there’s an identical duplex right next door, so if one of them is remodeled we’ll always have the other one to remind us of what once was. I think sacrificing that one potentially historic building is acceptable if the overall plan creates an economic environment conducive to restoring and preserving the other architectural treasures in the hamlet. As for the farming, I could be wrong, but it’s my understanding that the 8 acre site on Route 17 did once house some sort of farming operation. If you look at aerial imagery, you can see a barn and other out-buildings hidden in the overgrowth up the hill. There were plenty of small farms like it scattered along the Ramapo, so it’s not a fabricated or inauthentic use of the land. It could be a gem of a spot once it’s cleaned up.

  5. Blake Says:

    Tuxedo is a dump !!!

  6. Teresa Says:

    I think it’s about time that this strech of 17 is finally getting a facelift it’s long overdue.

    I believe that the THC will do a great job. Anything is better then the eye soars that are standing now.

  7. Kim Kafka Says:

    Here’s what they don’t want you to know – Bruno actively transports trash illegal from one location to another – without a haulers permit. Leaving his neighbors at risk for coyete – bear attacks!!!

  8. Pat Says:

    Sissy, I didn’t know about this site till today. As far as the people living in the houses near the Blue Barn, they all got eviction notices. Those that were given extra time to get out were told they cannot park in their usual spots on the weekend and cannot have clothes lines either. Guess the parking is for Bruno’s people and also guess clothes hanging outside is an embarrassment. But, that is how, as he put it, us Hillbillies dry our clothes. Yes he got into calling people in Sloatsburg ‘hillbillies and country bumpkins”

  9. Eleni Says:

    Hey guys my name is Eleni and I live in one of those house on 17 and guess what I am the only family that has to leave , witch really stinks especially when you can’t find a place that’s affordable. I to am for change but when you send me a letter that states to introduce yourself as the new landlord and two weeks later say I have to be out by the 30th is just not right, I still have a child who is going to graduate this year and in ten days from tomorrow I’m suppose to be out, it was just not done the right way , we have been in this town for about thirty years and most of you know my husband nico. We did a lot of good things for many people and love it hear we practically grew up here. I guess every thing happens for a reason. Mr Bruno I wish you well but you should have done things differently. We will find a place soon I hope and always know that sometimes the real good people are right under your nose but you can’t see them…………

  10. Dave Says:

    let him evict you that will take some time

  11. C Says:

    Pat posting on Sept 18th – you are incorrect only one person was given a notice to leave, 60 days notice to leave and was offered 2 months free rent to help them find a new place. I’ve had many landlords and was never offered free rent.
    After insurance inspection we were advised that home needs a complete electrical upgrade and it cannot be done with tenants living in there. The upstairs tenant had vacated on her own due to non payment of rent from the prior landlord.
    In addition the clothes line had to come down due to the insurance company insisting that it is a hazard, we have a copy of the notice to show you if you like!. Other tenants were told to park their cars on weekends only in other spots while the farm stand is open, they have not been asked to leave.
    Understand that group of homes is in a business zone district, it is not residential zone. There is another new business that just opened next door the craft beer place, other tenants had to leave there for that business too…don’t see you complaining about that.
    If we don’t do something to make Sloatsburg nicer and a destination for the people who come to visit the parks up here, that other group is going to get in and take over. Just check who won the democratic primary for your district!

  12. Pat Says:

    C what do you mean by “that other group”? Look, I don’t have any dog in this fight. I don’t know anyone down there, when I started hearing stories about evictions, yes I did hear one tenant was given 60 days, but I also heard that at least 2 tenants were given a year.My concerns do not involve the craft beer business, I wish them the best. I am glad to see small businesses open. I give them a lot of credit to be able to do so in these times, so I don’t know why you said that. I am assuming you work for the village, correct me if I am wrong, to know about the clothes line. If I wanted to see the notice, who do I see? There are soo many rumors going on about this area, some true, some maybe not, but it seems the best way to put these rumors to rest would perhaps have a meeting with some of these tenants and anyone else interested.

  13. Eleni Says:

    This is for you Cathy yes he did give me 2 months free rent but you try finding a two bedroom for 1100 dollars am thankful for that, but the rent prices are through the roof and 2200 dollars does not get you a two bedroom to be able to just walk in rents in this area are around 1400 or moe a month do the math the two months you gave me of 2200 just does not do it. Again I’m thankful for it but it was done in a crappy way again I’m so sorry because when I met him I thought he was this nice caring man but until I have enough money to leave which will probably be by the end of October I cannot leave , if I have to go to court may it be. I have a daughter in school still and it’s a little difficult, so I hope you also understand me. I’m not some low life who wants your free ride I just want to give my daughter to feel safe that she will have a home to live in. Again you can tell Michael thank you very much for everything but I won’t leave here homeless I will need one more month to have enough money to move out. . Again thank you for the two month free rent ……………….

  14. hugh gooodman Says:

    That market building was designed by Walker and Gillete, a very well known architectural firm that was almost as well heeled as Price. As far as denigrating a potential Bruce Price building, not all well heeled architects design building for the elite. If that duplx is in fact designed by Price, it should be preserved/restored as a representative example of less elaborate style of architecture.

    845-260-1836

  15. hugh gooodman Says:

    That market building was designed by Walker and Gillete, a very well known architectural firm that was almost as well heeled as Price. As far as denigrating a potential Bruce Price building, not all well heeled architects design building for the elite. If that duplex is in fact designed by Price, it should be preserved/restored as a representative example of less elaborate style of architecture.

    845-260-1836

  16. hugh goodman Says:

    A clothesline is a hazard? Did they explain how a clothesline can be a hazard. That is one of the more ridiculous things i have heard in my life.

    another example of the fall of America

  17. Editor Says:

    Much appreciation for the comments.
    As a note of context on the whole question of clotheslines, there was recent discussion on the topic of clotheslines at a Village Board meeting. The thinking is that generally clotheslines are ok in the Village. Though landlord/tenant relations involve a whole other set of particulars that don’t necessarily involve the village.

    The residents present at the meeting seemed generally reassured that the Village appeared engaged and informed about the complexities of current Village center activities. Village Board meetings are good places to go over things.

  18. Roger W. Says:

    I have to agree with you, Editor, about how important it is to attend these meetings to not only voice your concerns, but to hear what others are concerned about. I One question, do you have a name besides editor? would be nice to address you by your name, not just editor

  19. C Says:

    Pat and Hugh below is what we received from our insurance company after they sent an inspector. The letter also has pictures along with each item but this site is not allowing me to cut and paste the pictures in. We had to provide pictures back to the insurance company showing we complied otherwise our policy would have been cancelled.

    Hugh do you own any rental properties, are you a landlord? If so then you should be aware you need insurance to protect the asset that you own and you must comply with what your insurance company recommends are issues with the property. This is not an example of as you put it “the fall of America”.

    A General Liability survey was conducted by Research Specialists Inc. for the above insured at the following location(s):

    72-74 Orange Turnpike
    Sloatsburg, NY 10974

    The following recommendation(s) were generated to assist you in our mutual goal of reducing loss exposures:

    HAZARDS-

    BBQ grill near the front entrance should be moved a minimum of 5 ft from the building and combustible materials.

    Clothing line near the storage building should be removed from the property to reduce risk of injury.

    Have a licensed contractor inspect circuit breaker panel with missing switches to reduce risk of shock/injury and fire.

    If we do not receive a compliance letter along with the below defined proof of compliance in our office within the time stated, NOTICE OF CANCELLATION will automatically be sent.

  20. Editor Says:

    A note to SVdotcom commenters and readers, bear in mind that when rental properties change ownership often a whole host of rules, regulations and obligations kick in, from re-inspections by various parties, to insurance issues, to updated code requirements — sometimes the updated requirements trump the way things were. There also might be changes in market valuations, property taxes and return on investment requirements that possibly necessitate a renewed look at rental objectives from the landlord.

    Some issues related to the Waldron/Blue Barn properties were recently discussed at a Village Board meeting, an appropriate place to pursue redress.

    To especially Hugh, Roger, Pat, and Eleni — it looks like some of your issues are being addressed directly in this comments forum by a representative of Tuxedo Hudson Company. The mere act of responding to the various comments on this issues might be considered a demonstration of basic concern and consideration on the part of THC with its Sloatsburg properties and tenants. Sloatsburg is a small community and communication can go a long way in clarifying issues and actions rooted in basic misunderstandings.

    A reminder as well that SVdotcom is independent of the Village and provides a news/community life forum to address local issues, events and happenings.

  21. Jeanmarie Byman Says:

    Holy crap! What a bunch of whiners. Thank God there is some progress, renovation and improvements occurring along this stretch of highway. Anything will be an improvement. It’s embarrassing telling people that I live in sloatsburg, there is NOTHING attractive about the strip mall known as the downtown area, driving north out of town toward Tuxedo almost all of those buildings are an eye sore. So looking forward to the chang- shopping and dining opportunities and hopefully, home values will finally go up.

  22. Dave Veraja Says:

    I wouldn’t go as far as [Thanking God] especially when in the same paragraph you also hope for increased home values. Sloatsburg has never been judged by the cover of the book. Those that love the Sloatsburg community appreciate its natural setting, the park and its lakes. And of course the people and family friendly community which it is.While progress is a good thing we must be careful to maintain our values and certainly not pray for property values, this sends the wrong message.

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