AAA Northway HQ to Stay in Schenectady

December 14, 2011


NEWS RELEASE                  For Immediate Release



Contact: Ray Gillen, Metroplex

(518) 377-1109
(518) 461-7137 (cell)

AAA Northway HQ to Stay in Schenectady

December 14, 2011, Schenectady, N.Y., — The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority met today and approved a plan to keep AAA Northway’s corporate headquarters in downtown Schenectady.  The project retains 45 jobs, creates five new jobs and involves the relocation of the company to the Center City Building across from Proctors.  AAA Northway has been located in downtown Schenectady since 1907.  The company’s office at Railroad Avenue was damaged by the recent flooding and the company began looking for alternate space.  After considering sites in the ten-county region served by AAA Northway, the company decided to lease 11,000 square feet at Center City.  Metroplex staff worked closely with the company to retain AAA Northway in Schenectady.

AAA Northway provides 146,000 members in Upstate New York with over 70 products and services including its signature 24 hour, 7 day a week emergency road service, homeowners and automobile insurance, auto repair, complete travel planning and member only discounts.  The company’s executive offices and member call center will be located in Center City.

James Phelps, President and CEO of AAA Northway said, “Growth of AAA Northway’s membership base and expanding product offering prompted us to begin planning for relocation of our headquarters due to the need for more office space. Flood damage sustained this summer simply accelerated our plans. We are very pleased to remain in Schenectady’s downtown and we thank Metroplex for their assistance and commitment to AAA during this process.  It certainly helped cement our decision to remain downtown. Our travel center at 1626 Union Street which serves AAA members remains open.”

Metroplex is providing $138,000 toward the $175,000 cost of buying AAA’s existing building and one acre of land at 112-114 Railroad Avenue and 10 State Street. Metroplex will also provide $84,000 toward relocation expenses.  AAA Northway will lease 50 parking spaces from Metroplex providing a recurring revenue stream for the Authority.  Metroplex plans to incorporate AAA’s existing building into its redevelopment plans for lower State Street including the new Gateway Plaza. Next to the existing AAA Northway facility, United Development is currently building an $11 million student housing complex for Schenectady County Community College.

Ray Gillen, Metroplex Chair said, “We are pleased that AAA Northway will retain its corporate offices in downtown Schenectady.  This will keep 50 good paying jobs in downtown and this in turn will help to continue the revitalization of Schenectady County.”

The Metroplex Board also took action on the following:

• accepted a $50,000 grant from the Capital District Transportation Committee for the redesign of Liberty Park on Lower State Street to Gateway Plaza.  Metroplex will provide a $20,000 match.

• awarded a $30,000 facade grant to DHA, a tech company that is investing $350,000 to rehab 414 Union, a 10,000 square foot building on lower Union Street. This project puts the building back on the tax rolls.

• awarded $178,500 to the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation (DSIC) to support efforts to support efforts to keep downtown clean. This is an annual grant. Last  year’s grant was $170,000.

• authorized $50,000 to help the Disabled American Veteran’s purchase the 135,00 square foot former Draper School in Rotterdam. The DAV plans to convert the building into 122 apartments for veterans in a $25 million project.

• approved Metroplex’s downtown parking plans for 2012 and reviewed parking activity in 2011.  Visitor parking downtown was up 29% in 2011 over 2010.  This is on top of the 12% increase from 2009 to 2010.   This figure includes daytime visitor parking and does not evening free parking. Day time visitor parking downtown has doubled since 2007.  Paid parking permits issued by Metroplex in 2011 totalled 1,793 up 6% over 2010.

• okayed new contractual arrangements between Metroplex and agencies administered by Metroplex staff including the Rotterdam IDA, County IDA, City IDA, and Capital Resource Corporation.  The new contracts reduce fees to agencies assisted by Metroplex.

• approved a $48,000 accounting contract for Robert L. Kristel, CPA  — the same amount as last year’s contract.

• okayed a $15,400 contract with Bollam, Sheedy, Torrani and Company, LLP for audit services also at the same level as last year’s contract.

• approved a $144,000 annual contract for parking maintenance for the more than 2,000 spaces owned and operated by Metroplex. This contract is also at the same level as 2010.

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