Socha Plaza plans new business site

Socha Management will invest up to $9 million in a new, three-story facility that will house retail,
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Socha Management will invest up to $9 million in a new, three-story facility that will house retail, office space and corporate apartments on a vacant site near Socha Plaza.

The company is also tinkering with the idea of putting an established local restaurant on the third floor of the proposed 45,000-square-foot building, which President William Socha describes as flexible and in its early stages.

“We got site plan approval many years ago for a commercial building on that site, but it was before sewers were installed,” he said. “Now that we have sewers, we can build a building of this size.”

The facility will go up between Socha Plaza and Socha Plaza South, the two-story professional building on Route 50 just south of the plaza.

Socha Management currently owns and operates 444 garden apartments known as Shady Lane Apartments, a 40,000-square-foot retail plaza, and two office buildings totaling 30,000 square feet.

“We’re excited,” said Socha. “We’ve had this pad site for many years and really wanted to move forward with this project, but the conditions just weren’t right. Now they are.”

The company already offers 1,300 square feet of furnished space at Shady Lane Corporate Apartments for the traveling executive. They’re an alternative to an extended hotel stay, and can be rented short term.

But Socha said that the five apartments are fully booked with employees from General Electric, GlobalFoundries and Target, and he’s seen demand for more in the area.

“We’ve seen the same thing with our offices,” he said of Socha Plaza. “Our commercial space is fully rented right now. When we get calls, we basically have to turn people away.”

The demand, coupled with the recent economic upswing, made it the ideal time to pursue the new facility.

“The time is right for us now,” he said. “The economy is picking up locally and interest rates are about as low as they’re going to get.”

The market could change, but Socha envisions the new building as having retail space on the ground floor, office space on the second, and corporate housing on the third. The extra ingredient to the new mixed-use space would be the restaurant, he said.

He pictures an established, local restaurateur looking for an additional location and is meeting with someone next week about the idea. He can picture terrace seating on the third floor, overlooking the Schenectady County Airport.

“We’re pretty wide open right now, but as time passes we will have to make some concrete plans,” he said.

The County Industrial Development Agency, which is administered by the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, will provide benefits to the project.

While the company will continue to pay full taxes on the land where the project will be built, the IDA will waive sales tax for building materials used in construction and provide a payment in lieu of taxes that sets taxes on the new building at 50 percent of full value during the first year, increasing by 5 percent each year afterward.

This will produce more tax revenue for the county, town and school district.

County IDA member Marty Finn, who also chairs the county Legislature’s Economic Development Committee, thanked the Socha family for its commitment to Schenectady County.

“This new office building will add to the momentum we are seeing on the Route 50 corridor and is further proof that the county-led unified economic development plan is working,” he said in a news release issued Thursday.

The Route 50 corridor has seen considerable development in recent years, with a new Target store being built at the former Kmart plaza, which will also boast an adjacent retail building. In addition, a $20 million Naval Reserve Center and a 48,000-square-foot Fortitech distribution center have moved to the Airport Business Park over the years.

Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said in the release that he expects the project to be a “great addition” to the community.

“We continue to work with the county, private investors and the town’s Small Business and Economic Development Committee to attract new development in Glenville,” he said.

Though it received approval many years ago to put a commercial building on the site, Socha Management will need to submit a revised site plan to the town that includes details on drainage and parking.

Categories: Business

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