Board Also Okays Parking Lease to Bring 35 More State Employees to Downtown
Schenectady, N.Y., August 11, 2016 – The Board of Directors of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority approved four projects that will continue revitalization efforts in downtown Schenectady.
The first two projects involve the renovation of historic buildings. At 3 State Street, a long vacant building located at the entrance to downtown, will be restored. The five-story, 11,500 square foot building was built in 1903 as the Alexandra Apartments. New owners of the building, Mark Clark and Tom Keaney, will invest $2 million to restore the building as market rate apartments. The building is located next to the Stockade Historic District and the former YMCA at 13 State Street which is being converted into 61 senior apartments. The new owners plan to place 3 State Street on the Historic Register and undertake a total renovation of the building including new electrical, plumbing, lighting, mechanicals, and major upgrades to the building façade. Financing is being provided by M&T Bank.
Mark Clark and Tom Keaney have extensive construction experience. They own and operate over 170 apartments in the Capital Region. Renovations will begin in the fall of 2016.
Mr. Clark said, “We are excited to be part of the continued growth and revitalization of Schenectady’s downtown. The development of lower State Street will improve a major gateway to the City as well as enhance the neighborhood for those who work, live or attend school in the area. Being immediately adjacent to the Stockade and a few blocks from restaurants, stores, Proctors, SCCC and minutes from the highway, we feel this will be a great investment in the City’s future.”
The Metroplex Board approved a $100,000 renovation grant toward the $2 million cost to renovate 3 State Street.
The second historic building project reviewed by the Board is located at 508 Union Street. This 4,000 square foot building is located in the Union Street Historic District. The building formerly was home to a law office but has been vacant for several years. Over $500,000 will be invested by the new owners in renovations. Project financing will be provided by Pioneer Bank.
The new owners include Paul and John Bonacquisti of Bonacquisti Brothers Construction, and Sean Curtin of 100N5, LLC. 100N5, LLC is a development company that is developing multi-unit residential properties in city environments. Sean Curtin, Paul and John Bonacquisti are the principals.
The partners have extensive experience in commercial construction projects including several historic renovation efforts, including a project to transform a Civil War era warehouse building in downtown Cohoes into 22 loft-style apartments.
AKW Consulting based in Schenectady is also a partner in the project. The company, headed by Tony Ward, has successfully renovated 28 Yates Street, 124 Jay Street and 30 Jay Street in downtown Schenectady. The firm provides construction management and inspection services to commercial and government agencies. The new owners are exploring both office and residential uses for the building once renovations are complete.
Tony Ward from AKW Consulting said, “We are looking forward to the opportunity to restore this beautiful historic building located at 508 Union St. and to once again seeing it occupied after sitting vacant for the past four years. Thanks to the support of the City and Metroplex we will be investing in the restoration and adaptive reuse of this important property and putting it back on the tax rolls.”
Metroplex will provide a $60,000 grant for the 508 Union Street renovation project. Work is already underway.
Ray Gillen, Metroplex Chair said, “We are very pleased to help renovate two more historic buildings in the heart of downtown. Metroplex has now been a partner in the renovation of more than 30 historic buildings in Schenectady County.”
The Board also approved a parking agreement with Omni Development Company that will provide 35 additional parking spaces for the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). OCFS will add 2,600 square feet at Omni’s One Broadway Center building in downtown Schenectady and will add 35 employees at this location.
“We are pleased to provide parking for 35 additional OCFS employees and we welcome them to downtown.” Gillen said.
Downtown Schenectady is home to the headquarters of the NYS Workers Compensation Board, NYS Lottery and the NYS Gaming Commission. The NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs operates a regional office downtown.
Finally, the Metroplex Board approved funding for the new Gateway Park to be constructed at the gateway to downtown Schenectady near SCCC. The former Liberty Park will be totally renovated and expanded using a combination of State and City funds including a $400,000 grant from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation awarded as part of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Council.
Metroplex will provide $237,000 toward projects costs of $974,000, but the Authority will benefit from the sale of two buildings at the site of the new park for $138,000 bringing Metroplex’s net cost for the project to $99,000. The park will add much needed green space to downtown and it replaces the former Liberty Park that is very narrow with berms that make it difficult to use or maintain. The new expanded park will promote additional investment in the immediate area which includes the $20 million renovation of the former YMCA, the 3 State Street renovation project, SCCC Student Housing, the renovation of the former MVP buildings as apartments and additional investments planned for the lower State Street area.