Overhaul and reincarnation of a prominent building at State and Ferry streets is proposed as part of the ongoing revitalization of the lower State Street neighborhood.
The $15 million project hinges on the award of $2.9 million in state funding, however.
The Capital Region Economic Development Council on Wednesday released its list of priority projects in the seventh annual round of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative, the competitive process by which the state has been handing out development money the last six years.
If the overhaul of 136 State St., dubbed the Schenectady Innovation Project, succeeds in landing the grant, it will be a repeat performance for its developer, Re4orm Architecture. Re4orm got $2.33 million in 2016 to help create the Mill Artisan District, a mixed-use project which is immediately west on State Street.
The building at 136 State St. originally was Breslaw’s department store. It was later converted to the Mill Lane Apartments, and later renamed the Stockade View Apartments.
Most recently, J.T. Pollard of Re4orm bought it and an adjacent building — a former firehouse — at auction. Many units in the 66,000-square-foot building are vacant, and many have suffered from deferred maintenance. Extensive mold remediation work has begun in an area of vacant apartments. The total gut rehab that is planned will require the rest of the apartments to be vacated.
The REDC proposal lays out a vision for “a center for food and beverage production and development, as well as labs and training facilities for culinary education. It will house Schenectady County Community College’s culinary and craft beverage lab space, an on-site incubator kitchen, an in-house retail brewery, eight tenant brewers (three start-ups, four established), a restaurant, a cooperage, tasting areas and a Taste NY retail store.”
All of that is contingent on the state awarding the development money.
A rendering provided by Re4orm Architecture shows proposed changes to 136 State St. in Schenectady. (Provided)
The project also is in line for a $450,000 grant from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority if it goes forward.
The project would support 120 construction jobs while work was being done and create eight permanent jobs, not counting the tenants.
“We are very appreciative of the fact that the Capital Region Economic Development Council has identified the Schenectady Innovation Project as a priority for funding. This project will completely renovate the former Breslaw’s Store and adjacent former city firehouse, turning them from blighted buildings into major assets as we continue the revitalization of lower State Street,” Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said Wednesday via email.
He noted that it is the second-largest building on that part of State Street, after the old YMCA, which is being converted into senior housing.
The REDC process has awarded more than $4.6 billion in funding to more than 5,200 projects since 2011. The state credits this strategy with creating or retaining 210,000 jobs in that time period.
The process has been derided by critics as a sort of “Hunger Games” because of its competitive nature. But for the winning projects, it is a welcome boost of money. In 2016, the 10 regional councils split $716.9 million in awards. The Capital Region came in second in number of projects (116) and amount of funding ($83 million).
This year, the regional councils are competing for up to $150 million each in capital funds and $75 million in tax credits.
Awards will be announced in December.
The Schenectady Innovation Project carries the second-largest proposed funding among the priority projects submitted by the Capital Region Economic Development Council. The other priority projects submitted are:
- $5 million toward the $46.5 million redevelopment of the former Starlite Theatre site on Route 9R in Latham. The Galesi Group of Rotterdam envisions 3,000 housing units, 310,000 square feet of retail space, and two 150,000-square-foot office buildings on the 58-acre site. It needs to create a 0.4-mile connector road to avoid worsening what is already a congested traffic zone.
- $2.9 million toward a $14.5 million advanced manufacturing training facility for HVCC in Troy.
- $2.5 million toward the $29 million revitalization of the Palace Theatre in Albany. The money would pay for repairs to the historic theater’s infrastructure; improvements in patron access; enhancement of stage and backstage services; and creation of a loading dock.
- $2.4 million toward a $12 million renovation of the Schuyler Building in Albany for use by the University at Albany.
- $1.79 million toward the $8.9 million Starbuck Island Development Project in Green Island.
- $700,000 toward a $3.7 million expansion of Capital Roots’ Urban Grow Center in Troy.
- $500,000 toward a $3.3 million expansion of Flowmatic’s factory in Glens Falls.
- $500,000 for equipment for Digitalfabshop in Hudson.
- $400,000 toward expansion of services and amenities at West Mountain Ski Area in Queensbury. Private capital would cover the remainder of the $2 million cost of the work, which is projected to create 59 jobs.
- $300,000 toward Craft NY Supply Chain, a $3.3 million proposal to create a craft beverage supply operation on an existing farm in Moreau.
- $225,000 toward a $1.13 million renovation of an old schoolhouse in Hudson.
- $150,000 toward a $750,000 streetscape project on Broadway in Albany.
- $131,680 toward a $660,000 welding and HVAC program at Capital Region BOCES.
- $120,000 toward a proposed $600,000 microbrewery in Chestertown.
- $100,000 for architecture and engineering for the conversion of Albany County’s former Ann Lee Nursing Home in Colonie into a full-service Soldier On campus for a homeless veterans. Other government agencies would provide $400,000 for the study.
- $85,000 toward a “Maker Space” at the Hillside View project on Craig Street in Schenectady. The proposal by the Albany Barn would assist creative startup businesses and offer employee training programs.