ORANGE COUNTY, NY (VIN/Sandy Eller) – Less than two months after the newly elected mayor of the village of South Blooming Grove replaced the village’s entire planning board, a massive parcel of land comprised of properties located in both the village and in the town of Blooming Grove has been sold to a Kiryas Joel developer.
The Times Herald Record (https://bit.ly/2SYlaDH) reported that, according to a deed transfer filed this week with the Orange County Clerk’s Office, the 705 acre parcel which consists of 13 separate properties and is zoned rural-residential was sold on April 7th. The buyer, BGRE Holdings LLC, is a newly created entity whose Edison, New Jersey address belongs to a company co-founded by Kiryas Joel resident Akiva Klein, who already in the midst of building 2,000 apartments in the village of Kiryas Joel.
The property covers 1.1 square miles, with approximately 105 acres located in South Blooming Grove, which is located within the town of Blooming Grove and was incorporated into a separate village in 2006. The remaining 600 acres are located in town of Blooming Grove, with the full parcel located approximately three miles north of Exit 130 on Route 17, sandwiched between the villages of Kiryas Joel, Monroe and Washingtonville.
According to The Journal News (https://bit.ly/3plfr7h), Kiryas Joel grew by nearly 33 percent since the 2010 census, significantly more than any other more growth than any town, village or city in Orange, Sullivan or Ulster County, most of which have actually shrunk in size. In recent years, Orange County’s Chasidic population has extended itself beyond Kiryas Joel into neighboring towns and a potential Satmar mega-development in the village that could potentially double South Blooming Grove’s population has faced stiff opposition from those looking to avoid high-density housing, as previously reported on VIN News.
A recent influx of Chasidim into South Blooming Grove, which has seen 350 new families moving in over the past three years, has drastically changed the village’s demographics. The Times Herald Record (https://bit.ly/34P0vVz) reported that the village’s full governing board was replaced with mostly Chasidic appointees in two recent elections, with South Blooming Grove Mayor George Kalaj elected with the support of the village’s growing Chasidic community.
The 705 acre property had been previously owned by another investor who bought it in 1974. It had been listed at $8 million, but it was sold to BGRE Holdings for $6 million. Future development would be subject to approvals and land use-rules of the municipality where each parcel is located.