The developer of Socha Plaza has received preliminary approval for a new multimillion-dollar residential and commercial project on the vacant site adjacent to the retail plaza.
The town Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday signed off on the proposed 60,000-square-foot, three-story building on nearly 10 acres between Socha Plaza and Socha Plaza South on the west side of Route 50. Owner William Socha said he is pleased to have cleared this hurdle.
“It’s been a long time coming with this last piece of our property. Things are moving through the town quite well, and we’re getting geared up for the final approval,” he said.
That could come as soon as Aug. 13, at the commission’s next meeting. The project also needs a few variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals, one to exceed the town’s 35-foot height limit with a 40-foot-tall building and another to allow the new building to be closer to the property line than allowed.
Socha pointed out that he owns the adjacent property, so that should not be an issue.
“We know the neighbors very well,” he joked.
The project is also seeking a sales tax waiver from the Schenectady County Industrial Development Agency and a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that will cut its assessment by 50 percent the first year, then increase the assessment 5 percentage points each subsequent year until it reaches full value.
Pending all final approvals, construction could start sometime in the fall and be completed in the fall of 2013.
The first floor would contain a restaurant, maybe some retail space and potentially a medical office, The second floor would consist of office space. Exactly how that would be divided up and what specific retailers would move in have not been decided, according to Socha. “We are in conversations with a number of different tenants. Nothing is in writing yet. We’re a little premature for that,” he said.
The third floor would consist of 17 apartments, according to Socha. Twelve of them would be corporate apartments for extended-stay business travelers and the other five would be luxury apartments.
The cost of the project would be between $9 million and $10 million.
Paul Benoit is the lead architect, and Socha said he has hired some mechanical engineers and designers.
In addition, he will make some improvements to the existing Socha Plaza.
“We’re going to put in curbing and sidewalks throughout the entire area to make it more pedestrian-friendly for all our residents here and people in offices,” he said.
Also, some of the traffic circulation and parking will be reconfigured. There will also be new landscaping, including shrubs and flowers.
Town Planner Mike Burns said the commission had no issues with the plans, but he noted that the developer is working on how to connect utilities to the building.
In other business, the commission also gave preliminary approval to a proposal by Fred Ogle to covert the former Jan’s Roadhouse on Route 50 into a new business called Creekside Cafe and Coffee House. He plans to serve a variety of pastries and breakfast sandwiches in the morning and sandwiches and salads for the rest of the day.
A variance is also needed because that type of business is not permitted in that zone and the former business had closed more than a year ago.
Ogle said previously he hoped to be open by Sept. 1.
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