FMCC seeks more water to expand housing

Fulton Montgomery Community College wants to double the size of its campus housing, but it will need

Fulton Montgomery Community College wants to double the size of its campus housing, but it will need approval for water connections from the city of Johnstown first.

FMCC President Dustin Swanger made a presentation to the Johnstown Common Council Monday night. Swanger said the Fulmont College Association, FMCC’s faculty and student association, has an option to purchase the 144-unit Campus View apartments in the town of Johnstown for approximately $3.7 million. The apartments are currently supplied water using the same contract that allows FMCC, located on the border between the towns of Johnstown and Mohawk, to draw up to 40,000 gallons of city water per day at double the rate charged city residents.

Swanger said the Fulmont College Association needs the Common Council to amend the water contract to allow new connections for new apartments before March 10, the deadline for applying for an $11.3 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He said the loan would pay for the property, renovations to the existing apartments and an expansion to 288 units.

“We can’t move forward without knowing where the water is coming from,” Swanger said.

Gross & Cohen Real Estate Investors, a private company that currently owns the Campus View apartments, had wanted to expand them by 100 units in 2008, but the Common Council balked at extending city water to benefit a private company.

First Ward Councilwoman Cynthia Lakata said she was against expanding the water service for Gross & Cohen but she is more inclined to support an expansion if a nonprofit entity affiliated with the college owns the property.

“As long as there are no changes to the agreement except we are approving the additional connections to property, then that’s fine with me,” Lakata said. “The current agreement allows for up to 40,000 gallons per day and they’re currently using about 18,000 gallons per day, so there would be no need to expand the maximum usage at this time.”

Mayor Sarah Slingerland said a college-affialiated owner for the apartments is more palatable to the council.

“It’s supported by and large by tax dollars; there’s no single individual firm or private company gaining from this,” she said.

Gross & Cohen President Steve Gross said his company will be glad to sell the property if the Fulmont College Association is approved for the USDA loan. He said the property has been profitable in part because FMCC requires students moving to the area to live there for their first semester; in exchange, he’s required to pay FMCC to administer the property.

“We’re in a position to make some money, which is very good for us in this economic climate. We tend to buy bigger projects than this, so we’d rather sell this at a time when it’s advantageous to the college and to us and put the money into a bigger project,” he said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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