Schenectady County

Buyer of Union Street property in Schenectady plans upgrades

The developer looking to open Schenectady’s first wine bar is already onto his next project in the c
Arizona Pizza and Deli at 410 Union Street in Schenectady is pictured in January.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Arizona Pizza and Deli at 410 Union Street in Schenectady is pictured in January.

The developer looking to open Schenectady’s first wine bar is already onto his next project in the city.

The City Council approved the sale of 410-412 Union St. to Ryan Lucey, who recently got the OK from the city Planning Commission to open a wine bar and retail at 10-12 Yates St., adjacent to the Union Street property.

“We’re looking to renovate it and make it more appealing to that area and make it consistent with what’s going on downtown,” Lucey said.

The council voted Monday evening to sell the Union Street building, which includes a convenience store on the first floor and four apartment units on the second floor, to Lucey at $71,000. He was the highest bidder.

Lucey said he plans to invest up to $200,000 to renovate the building. Work is expected to take between four and six months and include abatement, replacement of plumbing, heating and electrical systems, and roofing.

“We went through a couple of months ago to assess the condition of the property,” he said. “It’s in need of total rehab.”

Construction is expected to start as soon as possible, Lucey said. He is considering reconfiguring the four apartment units into two larger units. The apartments are currently unoccupied.

“It’s still premature, but we will meet with the architect to see if we can do luxury units, more high-end,” he said. “It would make sense to keep it as four, but we’re looking at potentially having bigger units.”

Namath Rasoully, 47, currently operates Arizona Pizza and Deli on the first floor of the building. He also bid to purchase the property at $60,000. He is looking to keep his business there.

The property was taken through foreclosure by the city last year because Rasoully’s landlord wasn’t paying taxes. Rasoully said the city reneged on a verbal agreement to sell him the building a couple of months ago.

“It’s a done deal,” he said. “If I can’t get it, I can’t get it. I don’t know what kind of a deal this guy is going to give me. We’ll see how many years he wants to give me.”

Lucey said if Rasoully wants to keep his business at 410-412 Union St. that he would be willing to work out an agreement.

“Hopefully this will drive more people to his business,” Lucey said. “We haven’t spoken to him yet, but at this time I would like to keep him there.”

The other bidder who was interested in purchasing the property was the owner of Centre Street Pub, located nearby at 306-308 Union St.

Rasoully has been a tenant at the property since 2010. He made repairs to the building at the direction of the city, he said, which cost a total of about $20,000.

If Rasoully was chosen to purchase the building, he planned to invest another $20,000 to give it a new paint job, replace the windows, doors and sewer line, and improve the store’s facade.

“I already spent a lot of money,” he said. “The city made me fix the walls and the front of the building. I put a $17,000 roof.”

Lucey said the goal with purchasing the property, along with the Yates Street property, is to enhance that corner.

Work is expected to start soon on the Yates Street property. The wine bar would occupy a one-story building where a warehouse currently sits. Retail would be housed in a two-story building next door.

Lucey said he is looking for a tenant to operate the wine bar and is in discussions with interested retailers.

“We’re hoping for a summer or fall opening,” he said. “We are finalizing the plans right now and trying to make a decision on who to partner with for the winery. We have some interested partners.”

Lucey said he is targeting retailers who would complement the wine bar. The property could house one or two retail tenants, he said.

The Union Street building would most likely function separately from the wine bar and retailers next door on Yates Street.

“I don’t think the two properties would work together yet,” he said.

“Maybe going forward we can complement what we are going to do with the space. But at this time we would like to keep the current business there and bring that area back up aesthetically.”

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