Schenectady County

Building to receive face lift

A prominent downtown building will see its drab facade replaced by colorful architectural features r
PHOTOGRAPHER:

A prominent downtown building will see its drab facade replaced by colorful architectural features reminiscent of State Street’s appearance of more than 100 years ago, officials said.

The Galesi Group will spend at least $200,000 to replace the facade at 401 State St., a building it co-owns with BBL Construction and rents to the state Commission on Quality Care. It will use a combination of its own money and a $60,000 grant from the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. The facades on State Street and Broadway will be replaced.

DSIC Executive Director Jim Salengo said the facade work is important because of the building’s location. “It is on a prominent thoroughfare coming into downtown,” he said. The building is across from the Bow-Tie Cinema, another building Galesi owns. It is catty-corner from the Department of Labor regional headquarters.

The Metroplex Development Authority, the DSIC, the city, the county and private developers have made significant investments along the 400 block of State Street over the years, part of efforts to revitalize downtown, Salengo said. “If you look down that 400 block, you will see a lot of improved facades.”

Salengo described 401 State St.’s current exterior as a flat slab of gray stucco with some simple architectural elements. The proposed exterior will feature historic colors and elements like cornices, window vaults and columns. “The new design will make it fit into downtown’s classic historic look,” he said. The look reflects a time when downtown was the economic heart of the city, populated with dozens of stores and shops.

Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said fixing 401 State St.’s exterior is “the top priority for our facade program and we are very pleased that this key building downtown will receive a new look.”

Galesi executive Dave Buicko said the facade work will “reflect the great history of Schenectady while adding to the city’s bright new future.”

The Galesi Group has hired BBL Construction to complete the facade project. The architect is Stracher, Roth and Gilmore, based in Schenectady.

Metroplex provides the DSIC with an annual grant for the facade program. It gave $495,000 to this year’s program, bringing to $1.6 million the total it has distributed to the organization since 2002.

The grants have, in turn, sparked owners to provide an additional $2 million in matching funds and to make a further investment of more than $4 million in interior building improvements, Gillen said.

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