Schenectady County

Wellington Row renovations to begin Monday

The first step in renovating five buildings known as Wellington Row is scheduled to begin Monday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The first step in renovating five buildings known as Wellington Row is scheduled to begin Monday.

Mayor Jerry Jennings and project developer Joseph Nicolla met in front of the Wellington this morning and said project plans have been approved by the Albany Historic Resources Commission.

Environmental remediation will begin Monday, as crews start to remove asbestos from buildings that have stood vacant for 20 years. This phase is expected to take several months and could impact pedestrian and vehicular traffic along State Street.

“This is the first step, Without this nothing else happens,” said Nicolla, president of Columbia Development Corp., which purchased the buildings more than two years ago for $925,000 from the London-based Sebba Rockaway Ltd., which had planned to demolish the row.

Instead, Columbia plans to build a $50 million, 14-story office tower that will include street-level shops, offices and apartments to draw residents to the city.

Wellington Row is an important part of the State Street corridor, Jennings said, and with the approved plan, the buildings’ facades won’t change and their historical significance will be maintained.

The plan is to maintain three of the five buildings, including the Elks Club and two buildings east of the Wellington. The facade of the Berkshire, which is west of the former Elks Club, will be stabilized and a new building will be constructed. The Wellington Hotel, at 136 State St., will be completely demolished, a replica will be built and significant facade features will be placed on the building.

The project is receiving $2.5 million in state funding from Restore New York, which is overseen by Empire State Development., to clear the property and get it ready for construction.

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