Starlite site eyed for senior project

The vacant site of the former Starlite Music Theater could become home to a 120-unit assisted-living

The vacant site of the former Starlite Music Theater could become home to a 120-unit assisted-living facility, according to Galesi Group COO David Buicko.

The Rotterdam developer is overseeing a $50,000 development of the 100-acre site off Route 9R. Long-term plans for the site include a mix of residential, commercial and retail uses, but for the time being, Buicko confirmed he’s close to finalizing a deal with a group that wants to put assisted living there.

“They’re going through the process of getting approvals from the state of New York,” he said. “If we do assisted living, we would look at doing other senior housing as well.”

The long-vacant, once-grand Starlite was demolished in November 2012. The site contains a mix of about 60 acres of developable land and remaining wetlands. A National Grid easement cuts the property in half, so approximately 30 acres off the Northway will be dedicated to commercial use and 30 acres to the south will be for residential use.

The town of Colonie has the largest senior population in Albany County, said Christine Cary, who heads the town’s Senior Resources Department, with about 22 percent of Colonie’s residents being seniors.

“It’s a significant portion of the population that has really grown from 2000 to 2010,” she said. “And there is not enough senior housing to address it.”

Ideally, she would like to see developers build a variety of senior housing that meets a variety of needs. Assisted-living facilities are designed for people with disabilities or seniors who aren’t well enough to live on their own but don’t need the full resources of a nursing home. But Cary would also like to see affordable senior housing such as subsidized or market-rate apartments.

“The thing I always look for is the affordability factor,” she said. “That’s always the challenge. There can be adequate housing, but not enough affordable options.”

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