A company is looking to move into One Liberty Square, invest $7 million and create as many as 350 new jobs, a Schenectady County official said today.
Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, said the company — which he declined to identify — is considering moving into the downtown Schenectady office building by spring. The building once was the home of a popular Two Guys department store.
Metroplex is moving forward with the approval process to satisfy the spring time frame, Gillen said.
“The company is saying they would need the space immediately to begin renovations and occupy the space as quickly as possible,” he said. “We’re hoping to have the lease signed shortly and move forward with development.”
Gillen declined to provide any details about the company until a deal is final.
“We have been working on this for over a year back and forth,” he said today. “They started with dozens of sites. We’re definitely a finalist and a very strong candidate for the project. But we still have some work to do.”
During a meeting this evening, the Metroplex board called for a public hearing on the project, which would be sometime before Metroplex’s next meeting on Jan. 13.
The Metroplex board plans to vote on the project during that January meeting, Gillen said.
He said renovation of the 72,310-square-foot space at One Liberty Square would start after approval of the project and would take about four to five months to complete.
“If we don’t start the process tonight, we wouldn’t be able to meet the schedule,” Gillen said this morning. “We’re forced to start the clock ahead of a signed lease. Without doing so, we jeopardize our ability to finalize the deal.”
Metroplex said it plans to provide the new company with a $50,000 facade grant for a separate entrance to the building and exemption of sales tax for the equipment and modification of the space.
The 104,000-square-foot building, owned by Albany-based Picotte Companies, is partially occupied now by Bechtel, a large engineering firm and defense contractor. The company uses 30,000 square feet of space in One Liberty Square while also maintaining a much bigger local presence at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna.
The new company would pay $180,000 a year in taxes to the city, county and school district, Gillen said. That’s on top of the $75,000 a year Bechtel now pays in taxes.
The single-story building, known as One Liberty Square, used to be home to a department store called Two Guys. When the store closed in the 1980s, the building was converted into office space, Gillen said.
“They looked at a number of locations, and they are very interested in that space,” he said. “That area has really come up with Union Graduate College and the DoubleTree hotel. This will be a huge boost for downtown.”
One Liberty Square — at 600 Liberty St., near the Schenectady Police headquarters — is assessed at $7.5 million. The building comes with a 412-space parking lot that is used by the graduate college.
Also during the Metroplex meeting this evening, the board approved an additional $15,000 grant for the new DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on Nott Terrace.
The funding will be used for parking lot lighting, Gillen said. DoubleTree’s lighting costs increased by $39,478 since the company’s original proposal. Metroplex previously provided $250,000 for the hotel project.
Also, the Metroplex board agreed to provide $8,950 for a sign by Olson Signs & Graphics of Scotia at the Niskayuna Commerce Park on Hillside Avenue in Niskayuna.
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.