Developer owns or controls nearly 2% of city’s taxable properties
HUDSON–The City of Hudson is home to 2,053 taxable properties, according to figures supplied by assessor Garth Slocum. This number does not include 258 wholly tax-exempt properties, 12 utility properties, 6 railroad properties or 5 special franchises for wire and gas lines. The 2,053 are standard taxable properties such as those held by homeowners, landlords and businesses.
Of those, 38 are owned by T. Eric Galloway, a part-time resident of Hudson, according to figures supplied by City Treasurer Eileen Halloran. This total does not include 364 Warren Street, longtime home of the Register-Star newspaper, because Mr. Galloway’s purchase of that building has not yet closed.
Mr. Galloway holds only his Hudson residence in his own name; the rest of the properties are owned by organizations he has created, such as The Lantern Organization, The Galvan Group and Galvan Initiatives Foundation (GIF). The “Galvan” name combines the names of Mr. Galloway and his partner, Henry van Ameringen.
This means that Mr. Galloway and his companies own almost 2% of the taxable properties in a city of two square miles. Looked at another way, the tax-exempt properties in Hudson–including Columbia Memorial Hospital, the Firemen’s Home, Hudson City School District, county office buildings and churches–equal about a square mile. Mr. Galloway, then, owns almost 2 % of the other square mile in the city.
Mr. Galloway is a major taxpayer in Hudson. The Columbia Paper called him for comment and was referred to Tom Swope, executive director of GIF. Mr. Swope reported that the total assessed value of Galloway properties is about $8 million on the tentative tax role for 2012. The Galvan Group pays about $200,000 in property taxes each year, he said.
Treasurer Halloran’s figures reported that all first-quarter 2012 taxes had been paid on the 38 properties, except for those owed by Mr. Galloway’s Lantern Organization, which holds title to 25 North Fourth Street and 449 and 455-457 Warren Street. Mr. Swope had no comment on this, noting that tax payments all come from the New York City offices, not Hudson.
Mr. Swope confirmed that the Galvan Group has not applied for any tax exemptions for its properties. “The only exemptions we intend are where the library is housed and any other nonprofit activities we have,” he said. “We’ll ask for an exemption for the foundation offices, for example.”
Galvan Partners, LLC, owns 400 State Street, current home of the Hudson Area Library, and the Armory at State and North Fifth Streets. Published plans are to put the Foundation offices in the library building. The library may move to the Armory or to the Register-Star building, assuming that purchase closes and the newspaper moves out.
Of Mr. Galloway’s holdings in Hudson, at least 17 are residences, either single-family homes or multifamily buildings. Of those, at least 11 are vacant.
“The goal is not to have them empty,” said Mr. Swope. “It’s taken time to figure out a plan and develop a team of contractors and others to work on the properties. We think we now have that. It’s a work in progress, but we are hoping to ramp up that work. We have a number of things in the planning stages or undergoing work.”
As examples he listed the vacant 202-204 Warren Street, at the corner of Second Street; the stabilizing of the two large houses just north of the Armory on North Fifth Street, abandoned by a previous owner and vacant; and 360 Warren Street at the corner of North Third Streets, also vacant.
“We’re working on it,” he said firmly.
Mr. Galloway and his ventures have made news in the city in the last few years, most recently with a proposal to help the city build a new police station and city court, both sorely needed, and sharing the building on a Galloway lot with affordable public housing units.
Despite the prominence of this and other proposals, T. Eric Galloway has maintained a low personal profile despite the scope of his holdings in the city. The facts about him below come from Mr. Swope and public sources of information.
About 10 years ago Mr. Galloway was looking for a home in the Hudson Valley, specifically a brick Greek revival house. Such a house came on the market on Allen Street and his real estate agent brought him to Hudson. What keeps Mr. Galloway in Hudson, said Mr. Swope, is that he “enjoys what he can do here, buying and renovating properties, making a difference.”
Mr. Galloway buys so many properties, said Mr. Swope, because “it’s an interest of his. Some people collect art. He collects buildings.”
Mr. Galloway is the founding president of The Lantern Group (lanterngroup.org), a “citywide not-for-profit developer of affordable house for various low-income populations.” He is also president of Lantern Management Group, a realty and fiscal services company, and managing member of the Galvan Group, described as “a company specializing in preservation of historic buildings and single-family homes in the City of Hudson, New York.”
The Columbia Paper reached Mr. Galloway’s office at Arete Management, whose slogan is “Conscious Capitalism in Action.” The paper was unable to confirm what Mr. Galloway does for that organization, but tax bills for The Galvan Group are mailed to the same New York City address as Arete. Mr. Swope referred to Arete as a property management company, but this reporter could find no mention of that on its website (arete-mgt.com).
Mr. Galloway, who grew up in Ohio, is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Harvard Law School. He clerked for the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, and worked as an attorney for Davis Polk & Wardwell, specializing in investment banking and corporate finance.
He later worked for Settlement Housing Fund in New York City, described as a “nonprofit developer of affordable housing,” as counsel and housing development associate, “specializing in finance and development of housing requiring supportive services on site.” The Lantern Group was founded in 1997.
Mr. Swope confirmed that Mr. Galloway does not provide photographs: “He prefers to stay out of the limelight.” Asked if Mr. Galloway ever saw himself as living full-time in Hudson, Mr. Swope answered firmly: “No, he does not.”
Coleman: Register-Star stays in Hudson
HUDSON–Last month Roger Coleman, publisher of the Register-Star, announced the sale of that newspaper’s historic building at 364 Warren Street to the Galvan Initiatives Foundation. The paper has published from that address, under different names, since 1862.
The sale closing is set for “tentatively in the summer,” Mr. Coleman told The Columbia Paper this month. The Register-Star is in negotiations for a new space, he said, but hasn’t gone to contract on it, so he declined to give the location. He would say only that the newspaper, and its 35 Hudson-based employees, will be “prominently located” in the city.
“We are not leaving Hudson,” he said. “We are Columbia County’s newspaper, and we will stay in Hudson.”
Mr. Coleman also declined to reveal the asking or sale price for 364 Warren Street. The building had not been listed for sale, he said. “It was a word-of-mouth referral to an interested buyer. We weren’t actively pursuing a sale, but we haven’t produced or printed the paper here in years,” resulting in a lot of unused space.
The Register-Star is printed in Catskill, along with that city’s Daily Mail. Both are owned by Johnson Newspaper Corp. in Watertown.
Mr. Coleman confirmed that Johnson had closed the Chatham office of its weekly Chatham Courier. The three employees in that office will work out of the Hudson office, he said.–Debby Mayer