Schenectady County

Socha promotes new project, hopes for fall startup approval

Glenville planning officials received their first look at a proposed mixed-use project from the deve
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Glenville planning officials received their first look at a proposed mixed-use project from the developer of Socha Plaza, whose architect said he hopes it “raises the bar” for the town.

Owner William Socha is planning a 60,000-square-foot commercial and residential building on a nearly 10-acre property between Socha Plaza and Socha Plaza South on the west side of Route 50. The three-story, L-shaped structure would have retail and restaurants on the first floor, office space on the second and about 17 apartments on the third floor.

Socha told the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday that his existing commercial property is 100 percent full and his residential units are 98 percent full. With favorable interest rates and the other commercial activity in town, such as the new Target under construction, now is the time to develop this property, which he purchased 20 years ago, he said. “It’s great to be back and finally be finishing off this site.”

The project cost will top $9 million. The retail and restaurant space would face Route 50. There would be an atrium on the first floor as well.

As for the second-floor office space, Socha said he has had some conversations with a medical company. “Depending on how this rents, we might take a section of it and devote it to smaller offices,” he said.

The residential space is a mix of corporate and luxury apartments. Socha said his five furnished corporate apartments are all rented. Because of demand from General Electric and GlobalFoundries, he is looking to have perhaps a dozen.

Gavin Vuillaume, an engineer with of Environmental Design Partnership, said parking for the units would be in the rear with its own entrance. Elevator access to the units would be restricted. There would be about 100 spaces for the office and retail users.

There would be access from the current intersection with signal lights off Route 50. Also, there will be new islands and green spaces to dress up the existing Socha Plaza site.

Architect Paul Benoit said this would be a “New Urbanism” design that reflects a walkable community with internal sidewalks throughout the entire complex and a tree-lined street with parallel parking for the road that runs through the development.

Also, an effort will be made to have attractive signs for the retailers and restaurants. The signs would be hung from glass that wraps around the building.

The project will receive a sales tax waiver from the Schenectady County Industrial Development Agency and provide a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that will pay taxes on 50 percent of the property’s assessed value the first year and 5 percent more each additional year.

It will need variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals because the building is 40 feet tall and the town’s maximum permitted height is 35 feet. The Glenville Environmental Conservation Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission will also review the project.

Socha plans to at least do the site work and possibly install the foundation this fall with the rest of construction happening in 2013 for opening that fall.

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