Schenectady, N.Y. — The Metroplex Board of Directors voted to take action today on a key historic building located in downtown Schenectady. The former Foster Hotel at 508 State Street is a six story building that is more than 100 years old and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building features a very attractive façade that makes it one of the most unique and historic structures in the Capital Region.
Ray Gillen, Chair of the Metroplex Board said, “The Foster Building must be saved. While extensive new construction and major renovations have been completed on much of the Proctors Block downtown, this building has continued to deteriorate. We have begun a process today that will insure the preservation of this historic building.”
The building is vacant and is in very poor condition with broken windows, a leaking roof and because of poor conditions, the building could suffer structural damage if not repaired.
Metroplex has been in discussions with the current owners of the building but has not been able to reach agreement on a plan to save the structure. Because of concern that the building may suffer long term structural damage that might threaten its viability due to its current neglected and rundown condition, the Metroplex Board voted today to take the following steps:
1) The Board started the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process needed because the building is on the National Register thus requiring a Type I action under SEQRA. Metroplex will serve as lead agency in this coordinated review of the project.
2) Metroplex called for a public hearing which is needed as part of the process it must follow to move forward with a project at the Foster site.
3) Metroplex authorized submittal of an application to the State for a $200,000 loan from the Upstate Regional Blue Print Fund to help support renovation work at the Foster Hotel. This State fund has $120 million set-aside for projects in Upstate NY including $40 million for downtown projects. Metroplex believes that the Foster project would be a good fit for this downtown funding opportunity.
4) Metroplex authorized the start of the eminent domain process if sale negotiations with the current owners are not successful.
Metroplex intends to secure title to the property, button-up the structure to prevent further damage, and then begin renovations hoping to lease a floor at a time as the building is renovated.
In other action, Metroplex agreed to move ahead on further improvements to the Jay Street area and continue its successful façade program which now includes commercial corridors throughout Schenectady County.