Schenectady Floor Covering is putting the final touches on its new Maxon Road Extension showroom — a sleek, modern facility adapted from a crumbling, former industrial building.
Jeff Smith and Bill Kelly, second- and third-generation co-owners of the family business, opened the 9,400-square-foot showroom Friday and are planning a grand opening later. The building is 90 percent complete.
Ray Legere of Legere Restorations, a general contractor that did the work, called the conversion an example of a successful adaptive reuse of a structure.
The showroom is three times the size of Schenectady Floor Covering’s 2418 Broadway showroom, which the company occupied for 60 years. The owners will maintain the Broadway site as a remnants outlet and for shipping and receiving.
As part of its relocation, the flooring store expanded product lines and hired three people, including its first-ever interior designer.
“We wanted to update our image,” Kelly said about the decision to relocate to 1910 Maxon Road Ext.
Schenectady Floor Covering sells ceramic, hardwood and vinyl flooring and carpeting, installing 90 percent of what it sells. It employs more than 20 people.
Smith said they scouted sites throughout Schenectady before settling on the Maxon Road Extension building, which once housed Dimension Fabricators. Dimension last year relocated to the former Super Steel plant in the Scotia-Glenville Business and Technology Park.
Smith added he wanted to put his business in an area undergoing significant redevelopment, citing the Golub Corp. headquarters on Nott Street, the Galesi Group redevelopment of the former Alco property on Erie Boulevard and other investments near the area.
Smith and Kelly paid $567,000 for the four-acre Maxon Road property, which includes a 41,000-square-foot building, a 9,400-square-foot building and a 3,700-square-foot building. Their original plan was to tear down the two smaller buildings and use the larger building for their showroom. However, SRG Architects of Schenectady and Legere convinced Kelly and Smith to rehabilitate the 9,400-square-foot building.
“They could see the potential in it,” Kelly said.
Legere said the building “is like a fortress.” It contains more than 1,600 cubic yards of concrete, basically four times the amount used in modern construction. The floors and ceilings contain eight inches of concrete reinforced with steel bars. More than a dozen “mushroom head” pillars, built of solid concrete, support the ground floor and first floor. Legere said the pillars are designed to bear huge loads and are part of an architectural style in vogue at the turn of the 20th century. According to Gazette newspaper archives, Kalteaux Oil Co. occupied the site.
Dimension used the building for fabrication. It was unheated and contained grinding machinery. Legere said prior to the building’s renovation, its interior was “damp, dark and rotting, with dripping, collapsing walls.” Smith said it also contained animal carcasses.
Contractors gutted the interior, installed 2,000 square feet of glass along the outer walls and used foam plastic insulation and thin synthetic coatings on the exterior, otherwise known as an Exterior Insulation Finishing System.
“It is not durable, but every construction project uses it today,” Legere said. “It is lightweight, economical and energy efficient,” he said.
With EIFS, contractors sculpted a crumbling facade into a sleek exterior, added awnings and a sign. The owners also landscaped around the building and installed new curbs and lighting.
The building’s first floor consists of open space containing displays with product samples both on racks and installed on the floor. Ample natural lighting helps highlight product colors. It also contains offices, a kitchen, bathrooms and a conference room.
The owners may convert the ground floor into a design area or otherwise rent it. They have rented out most of the larger building to the Alco Heritage Museum group and will convert the smallest building into storage or rental space.
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