SCHENECTADY — Big changes are coming to downtown after Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, including dozens of new apartments, businesses and a permanent home for the Schenectady Greenmarket.
Commissioners have approved a number of projects that would alter the appearance of downtown, including plans to redevelop the historic Wedgeway Building at the corner of State Street and Erie Boulevard and a proposal to demolish the existing structure at 31 Lafayette St. .to make way for a new five-story apartment complex.
Restoration plans for the three-story Swift Building at 26 North Broadway, which once housed the Schenectady Beef Co. in the 1800s but has stood empty for the past five years, have also been approved.
Developer John Samatulski of Urban Initiatives Group has purchased the building which sits between Pinhead Susan’s and 20 North, and has already secured a number of businesses interested in leasing some of the approximately 14,000 square foot space.
Samatulski is behind several development projects in the city, including 430 Franklin St., home to the Urban Co-Works coworking space across from City Hall.
The Schenectady Greenmarket, which has grown steadily in recent years, plans to rent out part of the building for storage, food preparation and office space. The market is preparing to launch a food box program that will provide fresh produce to low-income residents starting May 1.
The building is about a block from City Hall where the Greenmarket hosts its weekly outdoor market between April and November. The market moves inside the Proctors during the winter.
“While we are outside of City Hall for the outdoor market season and inside overseers for the winter, this space is a great place to secure all of our market items and equipment. and have meeting space for our board and staff, especially while we’re adding several additional staff members to run the market and our food box program,” said Haley Viccaro, president of the Schenectady Greenmarket Board of Directors, in a statement.
Other businesses that have agreed to lease space in the building include Ally Roofing, LAZ Parking, WeStaff, the Barber Shop Builder, Chelsea’s Canvas and The Beauty Bar.
The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority plans to provide $50,000 for the rehabilitation of the building, including $25,000 for facade improvements and $25,000 to help the Greenmarket renovate its space.
Metroplex President Ray Gillen said Samatulski is a proven developer with a strong track record, and having a permanent headquarters for the Greenmarket downtown would benefit both the city and the market.
One of the city’s most important corners is also on the road to redevelopment after the Planning Commission unanimously approved site plans to restore the Wedgeway building at 271-277 State St.
A few details still need to be ironed out, including concerns over parking and lighting for the building’s theater marquee, but those issues are expected to be resolved in the coming weeks.
Cass Hill Development Co. of Latham plans to restore the historic structure built in 1885 and add a six-story extension to the north end of the building which is currently a parking lot. The expansion will include two commercial tenants and a 24-space underground parking lot for residents.
When complete, the building will include 14,000 square feet of retail space and 80 apartments.
Marc Paquin, CEO of Cass Hill Development, said he had a contract to purchase a 65-space parking lot along Liberty Street and was working on a deal with Metroplex to lease a number of spaces in a public car park in front of the building for commercial purposes. tenants.
Metroplex plans to contribute more than $500,000 to the restoration of the building.
The Development Authority lobbied for the building to be listed on the State and National Historic Registers to unlock a number of historic tax credits to redevelop the structure, which has been subject to a number of violations of the city code in recent years.
Gillen said a number of major projects have been completed along the State Street corridor in recent years, including the development of Electric City apartments and the Mill Lane craft district, but noted that the dilapidated Wedgeway building s turned out to be a hindrance.
“There will be a domino effect once this building is restored,” he said.
A two-story structure at 31 Lafayette Street, directly across from the city’s police station, will be demolished to make way for a five-story apartment complex. Rosenblum Group, the Albany-based development company behind the Schaffer Senior Center along Nott Terrace, is behind the project.
The building will feature a mix of one- and two-bedroom units that will feature 5-foot window balconies and a courtyard.
Plans also call for a first-floor parking garage with 50 spaces, as well as greenery to enhance curb appeal, according to Michael Roman, architect at C2 Design Group.
The project sparked a discussion regarding the application of the design guidelines, but was ultimately approved unanimously by the members of the Planning Commission, but was ultimately approved unanimously.
“Do we want a city that looks exactly the same? said Commissioner Randall Beach. “I think it’s a great structure. I think it’s a great plan and I’m glad to have it here.
Contact journalist Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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