Schenectady County

Capitol Plaza in Rotterdam nearly cleared of businesses

Like the rest of the nearly barren Capitol Plaza, the storefront at Newest Lunch remained dark Tuesd
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Like the rest of the nearly barren Capitol Plaza, the storefront at Newest Lunch remained dark Tuesday evening.

Inside, a scattering of booths and kitchen equipment was all that remained of the bar and grill that once bustled in the 1950s-era shopping center. The restaurant was one of the final businesses moved from Capitol Plaza last month, as HDB Ventures prepares to take ownership of the soon-to-be demolished building at Curry Road and Altamont Avenue.

“If you drive by, you’ll find an empty plaza,” said Bob Blank, a partner with HDB Ventures.

Of the 15 businesses once located in the building, only Alesio Chiropractic remains. Blank said the owner of the plaza — Jeff Musiker — is relocating the business.

Blank expects to complete the purchase of the building later this month and demolish it in late February or early March.

The site should take about a week to clear, with work beginning on a 4,550-square-foot Walgreens drugstore shortly thereafter. Blank said the new drugstore should be built within five months and is anticipated to open sometime during the fall.

Members of the town Planning Board approved the project in July 2006, but stipulated that the developer would need to acquire an eighth of an acre nearby the shopping center to ensure adequate parking. A dispute over the strip’s ownership stalled the project for nearly a year.

In April, officials from the state Department of Transportation determined that the land belonged to Schenectady County, which promptly sold the parcel to HDB Ventures for $25,000. The sale wasn’t confirmed until December.

Meanwhile, the last vestiges of the shopping center are being liquidated, said George Keleshian, who is running the sale of all remaining equipment in the building for Musiker.

Keleshian said any item not sold Monday will be moved at an auction on Jan. 17.

Keleshian said an assortment of items from the Newest Lunch — including most of the bar signs and even the bar fixtures — have already been snapped up by restaurant owners around the Capital Region.

Still, he said thousands of dollars worth of commercial kitchen equipment, restaurant furnishings and other remnants — everything from the doors to air conditioning units — remain to be sold.

“Everything is being sold for 10 cents to 15 cents on the dollar,” he said.

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