Saratoga County

Broadway project gets approval

Plans for a four-story retail-office-residential building where the city parking lot is currently lo

Plans for a four-story retail-office-residential building where the city parking lot is currently located next to Lillian’s Restaurant have been approved by the city Planning Board.

Sonny Bonacio, owner of Bonacio Construction in Saratoga Springs, is the project developer.

The 46,000-square-foot building will resemble a structure located at the site in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that eventually burned.

The new Bonacio building will have a 28-car private parking lot underneath the first floor and the third and fourth floors will feature 16 apartments, eight on each floor. The first, street-level floor will be retail shops and the second floor offices.

The plans have been under review by the city since early this year. The last hurdle for the project is review and approval by the city Design Review Commission, according to the city’s principal planner, Kate Maynard.

Construction on the new building is expected to start in the spring of 2012, Maynard said.

“It’s a nice contemporary twist to a nice historic design,” Mayor Scott Johnson said Thursday. He said the city sold the parking lot to Bonacio under a previous administration.

The mayor said he will announce plans later this summer for new downtown parking that will more than replace the spaces lost at the small Broadway parking lot.

Bonacio, the Saratoga Springs businessman who is currently building the multistory Market Square building at Division Street and Railroad Place, agreed several years ago to buy the parking lot from the city for $750,000. The City Council agreed to include the money in this year’s budget, but the contract was contingent on plans for the building getting city review board approvals.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a four-story building that included a Masonic Temple, retail stores and offices was located at the 420 Broadway location. Photos from the early 1930s show that the first floor of the building housed an F.W. Woolworth Co. five-and-dime store and F.W. Hewett & Sons dry goods store. The building eventually burned and the site became a city parking lot.

Bonacio said earlier this year that the city put out a request for proposals on the parking lot in 2007 and his proposal was eventually chosen in 2009.

The City Council agreed to finalize the parking lot sale last fall because it needed the revenue to help balance the 2011 city budget.

Olsen Associates Architects of Saratoga Springs designed the structure, which takes elements from the earlier building that once stood at 420 Broadway.

Last year a portion of the parking lot collapsed and was repaired, but this small portion of the lot was closed off to parking. The site slopes down from Broadway, meaning the rear of the parking lot had to be built as a parking deck.

Maynard said the approval Wednesday night by the city Planning Board included some conditions. The underground parking lot beneath the building’s first floor will have an entrance and exit onto Gardner Alley that will have to be improved according to directions from the city’s Department of Public Works.

“There will be public access to the building on both sides,” Maynard said.

These public walking lanes on either side of the building will lead to a stairway that will take the pedestrian down from Broadway to Putnam Street.

“It’s a nice pedestrian connection,” Maynard said.

The small monument dedicated to the Desert Storm campaign soldiers and a flag pole that are currently in front of the parking lot must stay in that general vicinity, depending on directions from the city DPW.

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