Schenectady, N.Y. — Schenectady County officials today joined with Mayor Stratton, Metroplex, the Galesi Group and the Capital District YMCA to announce plans to redevelop the former Big N Plaza on Nott Street as a Business Park featuring a new YMCA and at least three office buildings in a planned development called College Park.
Schenectady Mayor Brian U. Stratton said, “One year ago, during my campaign for Mayor, I called for transforming the vacant Big N into the home of a new YMCA. Today, we announce the Y’s plan to go forward at this site, but we also make this good news even better by announcing plans to compliment the Y with a new Office Park that will expand the tax base and create jobs in Schenectady. I am deeply grateful to the Galesi Group for their confidence in making this major investment in our City and for all of the help and cooperation that we received from the County, the Capital Region YMCA and Metroplex in putting this major deal together.
Susan E. Savage, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature said, “Today, we transform blight into promise, vacant land into state-of-the-art facilities–building tax base and creating new jobs for our future. The County’s new economic development team worked closely with Mayor Stratton and Metroplex to pull off this major coup. This site should have been fixed years ago, but Schenectady was not working together, as we are now, to move our community forward.”
Gary Hughes, Chair of the County Legislature’s Committee on Economic Development and Planning said, “This is an exciting project that brings together not-for-profit and for-profit entities to create a dynamic new multi-use complex in the City, adjacent to Union College on a site that was an underused eyesore. This is a win-win for Schenectady and further proof that Schenectady is winning again.”
The Galesi Group, one of the largest real estate developers in New York State with over 12 million square feet of space, will purchase the approximately ten acre Big N Plaza. The company has signed contracts in hand to purchase the site in cooperation with Mr. Eugene Weiss of EW Enterprises. Mayor Stratton thanked Mr. Weiss for his leadership and support in the effort to develop College Park.
David Buicko, Chief Operating Officer of the Galesi Group said, “There has never been a better time to invest in Schenectady. All levels of government are in sync with Metroplex and good things are happening. We see great leadership in tough fiscal times on the part of the City and the County and it is our pleasure to join with this team to develop College Park. We are confident that this site with a new Y, bike path, green space, a direct connection to Union College and Little Italy, plus the exciting new entertainment district downtown, will be an attractive alternative for businesses looking for space. We are already in discussions with a number of tenants.”
John Flynn, President of the Capital District YMCA, said, “I would like to thank Mayor Stratton for his leadership, his friendship and his support for this project. From his first day in office, the Mayor has been calling me encouraging the Y to do what it has done all over the Capital Region – build successful centers that help families grow stronger. Today, we are pleased to announce plans to move forward with a new Schenectady YMCA at College Park. After studying a number of alternatives and conducting extensive due diligence with the support of Metroplex and a large committee of volunteers, we believe that the market here is strong and getting stronger, the demographics are excellent and the opportunity to build a new YMCA is very promising.”
The YMCA plans to build a 65,000 square foot facility on two floors that will duplicate the success of similar facilities in Clifton Park, East Greenbush, Guilderland and Bethlehem. The new YMCA will feature an aquatics center, fitness facilities, on-site daycare and many other amenities. The expected cost of the facility is $8 million. Now that a site has been selected, the Y will proceed with fundraising and financing plans that the organization has developed in recent months as part of its due diligence process. Construction plans will follow assuming that project financing is in place. When the new Y is built, it will not include housing services now provided at the current facility. These services will continue at the current location until alternatives are found and a redevelopment plan for the site is finalized.
At least three office buildings are planned for the site that will compliment the new YMCA. The total investment at College Park is expected to exceed $20 million.
City Council President Frank Maurizio said, “The importance of today’s announcement cannot be overestimated. The new YMCA and the related projects at the Big N site means that our development efforts are now expanding from beyond the downtown corridor to other neighborhoods. It also means that Capital District residents from outside Schenectady have another reason to come to our City. This is very exciting!”
Robert T. Farley, Minority Leader of the Schenectady County Legislature said, “The investments made by Union College on lower Nott Street have begun to pay great dividends for our community. This new project with the potential development of the former Big N Plaza offers great promise to the future of Schenectady. The Galesi Group has long had a track record of development of office space and jobs.
We are hopeful that this project be able to leverage off of the great works of Union College to further improve the development of this important corridor.”
The City and Metroplex will explore ways of connecting College Park with the Inn at College Park, the College Park neighborhood and Little Italy by exploring improvements to the Jay Street corridor including plans to return two-way traffic in front of the Post Office.
Ray Gillen, Chairman of Metroplex and Commissioner of Economic Development and Planning for Schenectady County said, “A new Y will draw more than 1,000 people a day to downtown Schenectady. It will be another cornerstone in our efforts to turn around downtown especially if we connect the site to Little Italy and the College. We are excited about working closely with the Galesi Group to market the office space at this site –building on the success of our efforts at the Broadway Commerce Park. Schenectady is now way ahead of the curve in creating exciting new places for business growth in the central city.”
The Capital Region YMCA has more than 90,000 members in the region. More information may be found at www.capitaldistrictymca.org.