Metroplex Board Approves Funding Agreement for More Eastern Avenue Revitalization - Board also Begins Process for Sale of Foster Building Downtown

April 17, 2014

The Board of Directors of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority met on April 16 and approved more upgrades along Eastern Avenue, a key corridor in Schenectady County that connects Niskayuna and Upper Union Street to downtown Schenectady.  The Board also began the State mandated process required to sell the Foster Building on State Street to a developer who will renovate the building for a mixed-use project with office, residential and retail uses. 

Ray Gillen, Metroplex Chair said, “Eastern Avenue is a good example of the County’s unified economic development team coming together to focus efforts on a key neighborhood corridor that needs an upgrade.”

Under terms of the Eastern Avenue agreement approved by the Board, Metroplex will receive $250,000 from the City of Schenectady Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to support building renovation and demolition projects on Eastern Avenue.  Metroplex has already committed $100,000 in direct financial support to the Eastern Avenue project joining with Schenectady’s Land Bank which is using a portion of $150,000 in State funds to support the effort.  

The Eastern Avenue project has already lined up 7 buildings for demolition, 6 commercial buildings for facade improvements and 9 houses where major renovations are planned. 

The facade projects include 813-815 Eastern, 827 Eastern and 831 Eastern.

The buildings to be demolished include 722 Eastern, 803 Eastern, 821 Eastern, 870 Eastern, 858 Eastern, 868 Eastern and 2 Nott Terrace Heights.  Metroplex plans to provide properties (post-demolition) to the Land Bank for community improvement projects, such as a proposed Vale Park entrance on Eastern Ave.   

The Eastern Avenue initiative is also working with property owners to upgrade 7 homes from 779 to 809 Eastern Avenue and hopes to reach agreement to improve homes at 730 and 732 Eastern.   

Metroplex is currently discussing facade upgrades at 833 Eastern and 835 Eastern. Metroplex is also working to clear tax liens on the former Ras Furniture Building at 823 Eastern allowing for the purchase and redevelopment of the property.     

The $250,000 in funding provided by the City IDA to support Eastern Avenue upgrades is all money earned from collecting fees on development projects. 

Schenectady leaders are mobilizing funding to attack blight in City neighborhoods. The City recently obtained approval for $3 million in HUD funding for neighborhood revitalization projects including renovation, new construction and selective demolition of homes and commercial buildings that are beyond repair.  The City and County are also hopeful of obtaining additional funding for the Land Bank for neighborhood projects from Attorney General Schneiderman’s office.  

The Board also approved starting the State mandated process to sell property it owns on State Street – the Foster Building.  As required by the NYS Public Authorities Law, Metroplex has begun a 90 day process by providing notice of the sale for full market value.  An appraisal set the sale price at $475,000.

“The Foster Building is a historically significant building in downtown. Today, we are pleased to start the process of selling the building to a development group that plans a mixed-use project at the site that will create jobs and tax base.”

The Metroplex Board also gave final approval to expansion projects at Niskayuna Glass in Schenectady and Velocity Printing in Glenville. 

More information can be found at www.schenectadymetroplex.org.

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