Clifton Park

Clifton Park Planning board gets first look at 50 new apartments

Clifton Park panel presented with proposal this past week
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PHOTOGRAPHER:

The Clifton Park Planning Board took a first look at a new project that would see 50 new apartment units built both in the bustling town center area.  

Clifton Park-based firm DCG Development is seeking planning board approval to build the apartments

The apartment project would be built on property at 855 Route 146, on a site that DCG owns that is already home to a variety of businesses, including the St. Peter’s Medical Campus, which was built in 2016.

The apartments would be divided into two structures. One will be a newly-constructed, three-story 12,000-square-foot building that would contain 34 apartments.

Another 19,000-square-foot office building already on the site would be converted to house 16 apartments, according to the project proposal. The total size of the intended development area is 2.6 acres.

The apartments would feature outdoor seating and repaved parking lots. The new residences would most likely be one- and two-bedroom apartments, according to project officials, and will connect to the Saratoga County Sewer District and the Clifton Park Water Authority. 

At the meeting, project consultant Joe Dannible with Environmental Design Partnership said, due to the the presence of tenants in the already existing building, keeping some of the office spaces even if the rest of the building is redone as apartments is something the applicants are considering.

But board members expressed more immediate questions about how project designers plan on implementing the town center plan’s call for a walkable down town on a site that borders Tallow Wood Drive, a road densely populated with large suburban homes. Some board members have been favorable to the idea.

Board member Denise Bagramian said the introduction of apartments is a good way to keep people living in Clifton Park, since it offers older residents an alternative to staying in a house longer.

“I think it does fill a niche,” Bagramian said.

Board member Andy Neubauer commended the project for bringing an initial attempt at integrating a downtown streetscape into the area, which included widened roads for parallel parking and other design aspects on Tallow Wood. The challenge of the project, he said, would be the necessity of “creating a new walkable neighborhood out of nothing.”

“That might be a little jarring to a suburb, but we’re starting to see it,” Neubauer said.

Others expressed some concerns with charging ahead with the creation of a town center that sways heavily toward apartments, and less so toward retailers or mixed use buildings. The goal of the town center plan was to have a wide mix of both types of projects.

In the town center area is the Clifton Park Center Mall and various retailers in the Shops at the Village Plaza. A slew of new apartments have been placed above restaurants including CoreLife Eatery and Blaze Pizza on Clifton Country Road.

There is also a Market 32 store nearby. But a plan for 100 apartments has recently been introduced for the site of the old Kmart property, with no retail attached. That, board members said, could become an issue in the future.

“We start losing the reason why you want to walk,” board member Emad Anadarawis. “I just have a hard time seeing a town center focused around a supermarket.”

Don MacElroy, vice president of DCG Development, which owns a large amount of commercial property in town including the mall, assured planning board members at the meeting that bringing retailers to the town center remained a top priority for the company. 

“It is of great importance to us,” MacElroy said at the meeting.

Apartments were simply the project that best fit the site on Route 146, he added.

The project will next be examined by the technical advisory committee, a smaller group consisting of project engineers and planning board members, to further refine details.

 

 

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