With construction underway in the background, local officials gathered Thursday for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Harbor Center along Erie Boulevard.
The new building, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, will be a roughly 100,000 square foot office space and retail complex. The Harbor Center is one of several ongoing projects on the Mohawk Harbor site in Schenectady, which leaders said help make the city a regional destination.
“This is the new face of Schenectady,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who spoke at the groundbreaking.
Harbor Center is a $27 million facility that will be comprised of two buildings. One Harbor Center will be a 39,000 square foot building, and Two Harbor Center will be nearly 66,000 square feet. Both buildings will be largely used for office space, with retail space on the first floor.
Hochul called Schenectady “a comeback city,” and likened its recent downtown renaissance to her hometown of Buffalo, which, coincidentally, also has a building named “HarborCenter.”
Officials gathered under a tent next to the site, where workers and construction vehicles are stationed and beams have already been driven into the ground.
Representatives from the Schenectady City Council, the Schenectady County Legislature and state government spoke about the importance of partnership in moving the Mohawk Harbor developments forward.
David Buicko, COO of Galesi Group, the development firm associated with several of the Mohawk Harbor projects, said other projects on the site are making progress as well.
The Rivers Casino & Resort is set to open next year, with the casino portion opening by March, and the hotel portion opening in the summer. The new Marriott, which is adjacent to the Harbor Center, is expected to open in the next 10 days, Buicko said.
In addition, construction of the Harbor Center will happen simultaneously with work on The Riverhouse, a 206-unit apartment building with about 47,000 square feet of retail space that will overlook Mohawk Harbor.
Buicko said having a site where people can live, work and play all in one has been successful in other urban centers, like Dallas or Austin, Texas. That model hasn’t been tried in upstate New York, he said, but the effort on Mohawk Harbor has gotten positive feedback.
The activity along the Mohawk Harbor brings energy to residents and business people looking to come to Schenectady, said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, calling it a regional investment.
“I think people see progress, and it’s exciting to see progress,” said Santabarbara, who represents the 111th district. “People can drive by and actually see something new happening every day.”
Reach Gazette reporter Brett Samuels at 395-3113, [email protected] or @Brett_Samuels27 on Twitter.