The city of Schenectady is looking to sell an old incinerator site across from Mohawk Harbor on Erie Boulevard.
Local officials are planning to market the property by Seneca Street, which they see as prime real estate as the 60-acre old Alco site across the street is being developed with plans for a casino.
“We are going to see higher traffic counts along Erie Boulevard and looking for more of a retail use,” Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said. “But we don’t have any preconceived ideas.”
The 1.3-acre property at 1814 Erie Blvd. might be contaminated, though. During a meeting last month, the City Industrial Development Agency approved spending up to $15,000 for an environmental review of the land.
“It can be very clean or contaminated,” McCarthy said. “I want to know what the level of contamination actually is or is not so we can appropriately negotiate a price.”
McCarthy said because the property was once used by the city as an incinerator, it’s up to the city to clean it up. The city now uses the site for storage of granite curbing and construction materials.
He added that the study would begin “fairly quickly” but it’s unclear how long it will take.
“If there’s $50,000 or $100,000 in cleanup costs, the property is worth less,” he said. “But it could be very clean, and sold for a good amount.”
Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, said once the environmental work is done the results will be shared with the city. Then the city can list the property for sale.
Gillen said any sale would have to be approved by the City Council.
“There is growing interest in this area due to development of Mohawk Harbor and other related developments in Schenectady and Glenville,” he said.
In addition to the casino, the Mohawk Harbor site will also have housing, office and retail.
McCarthy said the city has already had inquiries on the property, but would not say from whom.
“There’s a wide range of what can be developed there,” he said. “We’re looking at what gives us the best long-term use.”
The Galesi Group is partnering with Rush Street Gaming of Chicago on a $330 million Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor. The earliest the state Gaming Commission is expected to award a license to Rush is Sept. 30.
Rush Street expects to have the casino built within 16 to 18 months of receiving a license.
The casino is projected to attract 681 new drivers during morning rush hour and 1,615 new drivers during evening rush hour, according to a traffic impact study done last year by T.R. Johnson Engineering.
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