Stephen Budihas calls it a day as ARC president


Stephen Budihas has retired from the Association of Riverdale Cooperatives & Condominiums.

He was ARC’s volunteer president for 20 years and the maître-d’ of many gatherings at X2O Xavier’s on the Hudson. He was also a prolific blogger on the organization’s website and a liaison between elected officials and approximately 140 member buildings in Riverdale.

Budihas fought to make natural gas more widely available in Riverdale, persuading Con Edison to invest in thousands of feet of new gas mains in 2013 to extend service to streets that had been excluded. 

He helped ARC members become early adopters of the city’s 2011 Clean Heat regulations, which phased out heavy heating oils that produce the most soot pollution.

In 2012 he arranged meetings with Verizon to get the word out about the arrival of Verizon Fios in northwest Bronx, ending the monopolistic reign of Cablevision and Time Warner Cable.

“Steve has taken this organization to new heights,” said ARC founder Ted Procas at last year’s annual meeting, its first held fully in-person event after the pandemic.

“I’m telling you it’s hard work,” Procas said. “He’s an exemplary president in my opinion, and I’ve seen all the presidents since our founding in 1984.”

Budihas said he’s still maintaining ARC’s website, apparently unable to make a clean break. “When you do volunteer work nobody necessarily really knows or cares,” he mused. “You do it because it makes you feel good.”

Budihas retired once already in 2002 after a 50-year career as a teacher and school leader in New York City public schools.

Is he committed to retirement this time around?

“Everything I’ve done in my life was kind of quiet,” he said. “I felt what I was doing was important and helpful.”

He added that he’s looking forward to flying to Paris with his wife later this month.

Another Stagg site nearly done

The end is in site at 3745 Riverdale Ave. — a busy construction site for the past year.

Leasing will soon begin for 89 apartments at Mark Stagg’s new 18-story tower. A portion is slated to go to income-restricted tenants on the city’s affordable housing lottery. He purchased the property from Simone Development for $6.5 million in January.

Construction crews have topped off the building and completed cement work on the roof, Martin Wolpoff and David Gellman told Bronx Community Board 8’s land use committee May 1.

They’ve been meeting regularly with Stagg Group senior vice president Jay Martino as part of a special subcommittee land use chair Charles Moerdler set up to keep tabs on the site. It has received several stop work orders from the city buildings department in earlier stages of excavation and construction.

Things got off to a rocky start, but Wolpoff said lately, “the relationship between Stagg and the building next door is more than amicable.”

Con Edison will need to park equipment on Riverdale Avenue in order to set up a connection at the Stagg site soon. Otherwise, construction vehicles that need to access the building for the remainder of the project will use the Oxford Avenue entrance, Wolpoff said.

In past months, construction took a toll on the sidewalk and pedestrian traffic directly in front of the building. Last November, The Riverdale Press reported on two personal injury suits brought against Stagg by passersby who fell on the same patch of sidewalk several months apart.

Moerdler recommended CB8’s traffic and transportation committee take a closer look at the traffic light and crosswalk plan at the intersection with West 238th Street, where cars will soon be exiting the new building’s garage.

The building will have parking for 71 cars on the first and second floors, according to permits filed with the buildings department.

The bulk of the remaining work will take place inside. That’s a relief to neighbors, who have endured drilling noise at earlier points in the project and previously lodged complaints about work taking place after-hours.

Soon, Gellman said, “everything is basically going to be inside, which means no drilling, almost no noise.”

Stephen Budihas, ARC, Association of Riverdale Cooperatives & Condominiums, Mark Stagg, 3745 Riverdale Ave., president