Schenectady County

Construction starts on new Niskayuna Walmart

Construction on the new Walmart Neighborhood Market at Mansion Square in Niskayuna is under way, on

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Construction on the new Walmart Neighborhood Market at Mansion Square in Niskayuna is under way, on target for an October opening.

Local and company officials were on hand Monday morning to ceremonially get the project going, as construction workers toiled in the background.

The Niskayuna market is to be about a quarter of the size of Walmart’s traditional supercenters and will focus on groceries, with limited general merchandise like health and beauty aids. The store is to be about 40,000 square feet and employ about 90.

The construction work is being done by MLB Construction Services of Malta, which has a crew of 45 on site.

“Any time that one can celebrate, let’s see, 90 new jobs, 45 construction jobs and major investment into your community, it’s a good day,” Chuck Steiner, president of the Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce, said at the ceremony, “and this is a good day.”

Wal-Mart currently has about 250 of the neighborhood markets nationwide, but the Niskayuna store was the first announced for New York state. It was originally announced last August.

The building will sit along State Street, with the front facing east. Developers fielded inquiries about the site from a number of retailers. Talks with Wal-Mart lasted for more than a year.

Construction began by last week, with workers putting up the walls along State Street and the interior of Mansion Square. After Monday morning’s ceremony, another section went up, a crane hoisting a section of the east wall and workers securing it in place.

The Niskayuna store is set to open in October, in a community that has seen a boom in grocery shopping options in the past year and a half. Niskayuna already had the long-established Price Chopper across Balltown Road in Mohawk Commons, a Hannaford at Balltown and Consaul roads and the Niskayuna Co-op three miles up Balltown Road, on Nott Street.

In 2011, Shop-Rite opened a supermarket in the former St. James Square on Balltown Road, near the Co-op.

And recently, Target added grocery options to its long-established store near the Price Chopper in Mohawk Commons.

Wal-Mart officials have welcomed the competition. Wal-Mart spokesman Jason Klipa on Monday called the new format a perfect fit for Niskayuna.

“It’s a way for us to look to bring a different kind of store, a smaller format store, but still all the same value and selection that people expect out of Walmart to certain communities and it was a perfect fit here,” he said.

Niskayuna Town Supervisor Joe Landry said the town is pleased that Wal-Mart chose Niskayuna for its first neighborhood market in New York.

He also thanked those involved in bringing the project to Niskayuna, including town, county and company officials.

“Finally, I would like to thank John Roth, of Highbridge Development, for providing the town of Niskayuna with this retail complex here at Mansion Square,” Landry said. “John, you’ve done a great job and we’re all proud of this.”

The town Planning Board approved the Walmart project last summer. Approvals for the overall Mansion Square project were given in 2007, but a legal challenge and economic issues delayed it.

The site was cleared in spring 2009, and an 80-year-old addition built for the Ingersoll nursing home, the previous occupant of the mansion, was torn down in June 2009.

The mansion itself was moved twice, the second time two winters ago to its current location. Berkshire Bank is set to open in the nearly 200-year-old building soon.

Built in the early 19th century, the mansion housed three town supervisors. It later became the home of both the Schuyler and Stanford families, including Leland Stanford, who went on to found Stanford University in California in 1876.

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