Schenectady, N.Y, October 3, 2007 — Metroplex today announced that it has hired Prize Construction of Niskayuna to conduct a study to determine whether the Silver Diner located on Erie Boulevard can be saved. The former rail car diner has been vacant for many years.
Metroplex will pay Prize Construction $3,000 to conduct an environmental report to identify asbestos and other environmental issues that will have to be dealt with if the diner is to be restored. Prize Construction will also conduct a stabilization report to identify the cost of stabilizing and renovating the diner and whether the structure can be saved.
Prize Construction is located in Niskayuna, New York. The firm specializes in historic renovation work with almost 20 years of experience in renovating older and historic structures. The company worked on the Proctors project as well as the renovation of the Rose Garden in Central Park. In addition the company is known for its work on national historic register buildings in Fairfield, Connecticut as well as major residential renovation projects in Manhattan and Westchester County. Prize Construction has a track record of combining engineering knowledge of historic buildings with the skilled workers needed to successfully complete restoration projects.
Mayor Brian U. Stratton said, “We appreciate this effort to try and find out whether this well known landmark in our City can be saved. We look forward to working with the City Council and Metroplex once the study is finalized to determine the best course of action with respect to this building.”
Gary Hughes, Chair of the County Legislature’s Committee on Economic Development said, “This is a modest expenditure that will help us determine the best outcome for the Silver Diner. Inaction is not an answer. We are now moving forward with a plan to deal with this building.”
City Council President Mark W. Blanchfield said, “It’s appropriate for us to examine our options before any decisions are made here. Fortunately, Metroplex has retained a top-notch outfit that will give us all the information we require.”
Ed Zemeck, President of Prize Construction said, “We have already had the opportunity to apply our skills on two gems in the City – Proctors and the Rose Garden. We are pleased to work with Metroplex to determine whether the Silver Diner can once again become a vibrant part of downtown Schenectady.”
Ray Gillen, Metroplex Chair said, “We are fortunate to have a firm with very strong credentials in historic renovations under contract to help us determine whether the Silver Diner can be saved.”
If the study shows that the building can be saved, Metroplex will ask the City to transfer title to the structure and will consider a loan of up to $75,000 subject to approval by the Metroplex Board so that the building can be stabilized and put back into basic working order. Prize Construction would then apply for National Historic Register designation for the building making the project eligible for tax credits and other benefits.
If the study determines that the diner cannot be saved then Metroplex will seek approvals from the City to evaluate storage of all or parts of the diner. Another option would be to donate all or parts of the diner to a museum in Rhode Island that specializes in rail car diners.
“The time has come to make a decision one way or the other,” said Ray Gillen. “The current condition of the Silver Diner is very poor and we need to make a decision on the future of this building. We appreciate the cooperation of the City, County and Metroplex Board in making this next step in the process possible.”