City officials are hoping the state will choose the Mohasco complex for a data center for the Office of Technology.
The state Office of General Services has advertised on its Web site, asking for potential sites for a consolidated data center.
The city has been approached by two major players in the construction industry and a third civil engineering company to form a partnership with AIDA for redevelopment of the Mohasco complex, Robert Quick, chairman of the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency, said.
The players are planning to respond to a Request for Information from OGS.
Quick said the state is looking to consolidate its three current data centers into one place.
The developers are considering investing about $100 million into the Mohasco Complex. The Esquire Novelty Building would be redeveloped, and there would be potential for further build out on the 10-acre property.
“This is very preliminary,” Quick said. “It’s an exciting project, no question, but we’ve got a long way to go from here,”
Tuesday, the Common Council agreed to enter into an option agreement with AIDA, which says the city will sell AIDA the Mohasco complex for $1 if the project is awarded in the city.
Part of the requirements to submit a proposal to the state is that AIDA has to demonstrate ownership or demonstrate that it has the capacity to own the property in question, Quick said.
Nothing has been signed between AIDA and either of the three firms, Quick said.
The Mohasco complex is 23 acres overall, but only 10 of them are developable, Amsterdam Empire Zone coordinator Fred Quist said.
The site is a former brownfield, which has already been remediated.
The Esquire Novelty Building is five floors and about 100,000 square feet.
The site has plenty of infrastructure from the days when the carpet mills were there, including power, large water and sewer lines and connections to natural gas.
There is also easy access to fiber optic cables.
AIDA would own the site, so the city would not benefit from property taxes. Quist said the real benefit to the city would be the potential for about 300 state jobs and dozens of construction jobs to build the site.
“This is technology-based industry,” Quick said. “It’s clean and it employs people who are true consumers, who have expendable income.”
AIDA and its potential partners have until Aug. 21 to submit a proposal, which Quick said puts them in a bit of a time crunch. The issue to enter into an option agreement between the city and AIDA was rushed on both sides. Common Council members were given a consent resolution to vote on, and AIDA held a special meeting to accept the agreement Wednesday.
Quick said the companies involved are not new to bidding on state projects like this, and they wouldn’t be involved if they didn’t think Mohasco had a shot at being selected.
The Mohasco property meets the four major requirements outlined in the state’s bid specifications, Quick said, including enough power, land, fiber optic cable and the ability for bonding, which Quick said was why AIDA was involved.
“I don’t think these guys would be investing their time and money unless we didn’t have as good a shot as anyone else,” Quick said. “It meets the four preconditions, and the people we’re involved with have done this 100 times before. They have probably already assessed our chances.”
The city has been awarded a $2.5 million Restore NY grant for the redevelopment of the Esquire Novelty Building. According to city grant writer Nick Zabawsky, the money could be used to redevelop the site for state offices.
Restore NY grants pay per-square-foot for development of a commercial space, Zabawsky said, and redeveloping over 100,000 square feet of space would more than use up the site’s $2.5 million allotment.
“We can definitely use this for the project, which is an exciting thing,” Zabawsky said.
Oswego-based developer Murray Gould, who owns Port City Preservation, had shown interest in redeveloping the Esquire Novelty Building, but had submitted a terse letter to the mayor saying how disappointed he was that the council was trying to derail Uri Kaufman’s project to redevelop the former Chalmers Knitting Mill into apartments.
Mayor Ann Thane said Gould ceased work studying the site’s potential after that.
The city never had a formal agreement with Gould.
Thane said she had been in contact with the companies involved with the potential redevelopment of the Mohasco site for nearly a year. She said the players include a global engineering firm, a national construction company and another partner in the construction industry who has worked in the city “for many years.
“[The companies] said this is a highly competitive situation we’re walking into, but it’s a huge time for opportunity right now,” Thane said. “This is the greatest opportunity in Amsterdam’s history for development.”
It is unclear when the city will know if it has been awarded the contract, but the specifications say the site has to be ready to go by Jan 1, 2011.
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