Firms tapped for office campus proposals

The long-delayed plan to transform the W. Averell Harriman State Office Campus appears to be getting

The long-delayed plan to transform the W. Averell Harriman State Office Campus appears to be getting off the ground, with three development teams being selected to draft proposals for the project.

Almost a year after Harriman Research and Technology Development Corp. directors threw out a skimpy list of companies interested in redeveloping the campus, a second request for qualified builders yielded better results Monday.

HRTDC directors selected three teams led by the Columbia Development Co., and the Howard Group in Albany plus the Galesi Group in Rotterdam. They could end up transforming the 330-acre campus into a 24-hour live-and-work community.

“We think we’re moving a little farther. We want real development proposals — not speculation,” said HRTDC President Michael Phillips.

In all, the teams include 17 development, architectural, real estate turnaround and property management firms.

The teams have until Aug. 11 to submit detailed proposals for any of three sections of the Washington Avenue campus. Phillips expects to start proposal negotiations in September and award development contracts Oct. 15.

The strong interest in the Harriman campus marks a significant turnaround from the 2006 request for qualifications. That first call netted three full responses, all of which were rejected last May.

Then-Gov. George Pataki in 2002 first announced plans to turn the campus into a cultural hub with commercial and residential uses. Pataki wanted to relocate the campus’ 7,400 state workers plus demolish and reconstruct several of its buildings.

But then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer last December revised Pataki’s framework and issued a new request for qualifications. Under Spitzer’s plan, more state workers will remain on campus and more of its existing buildings will be reused. Those changes will reduce the timetable and costs associated with the public-private enterprise.

The second call for qualifications netted 12 inquiries and five full responses.

Since 1998, Columbia has focused heavily on the Washington Avenue corridor near the campus. In 2003, Columbia completed a three-building medical mall on Washington Avenue.

Columbia has almost completely built out the Patroon Creek Office Park, whose first tenant was the Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan in 2001.

Wanting to broaden its reach along Washington Avenue, Columbia has partnered with:

* BBL Construction Services, an Albany developer that commonly works closely with Columbia.

* Ocean Hospitalities, a Portsmouth, N.H., hotel operating and development firm.

* Clough Harbor & Associates, an Albany engineering and planning firm.

* M+W Zander US, a Chicago architectural, design and engineering firm that specializes in the production of state-of-the-art private institutions and research facilities.

* Toll Brothers, the nation’s largest luxury home builder, in Horsham, Pa.

The Galesi Group team includes:

* Turner Construction Co., the New York-based commercial developer with a large Albany arm.

* Global Life Science Project, a subsidiary of Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s largest privately held real estate service firm in New York.

The Howard team includes:

* C.T. Male & Associates, a Latham architecture and engineering firm.

* Saratoga Associates, a Saratoga Springs landscape architecture, architecture, engineering and planning firm.

* Winn Development, a Boston developer that specializes in turning around troubled properties.

* Choice Hotels, the Silver Springs hospitality giant whose brands include Clarion, Econo Lodge, Quality and Comfort Suites.

Street-Works and Ballinger A&E are also part of the Howard Group team.

Executives at Columbia, Galesi and Howard could not be reached for comment Monday.

Categories: Business

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