SCHENECTADY — City lawmakers tentatively approved bids to demolish a handful of derelict structures in Hamilton Hill on Monday, but not before questioning the price tag — a total of $487,188 for six buildings.
“These bids seem awful high,” said City Council President Ed Kosiur. “The prices of these demolitions have skyrocketed. Is there a reason for that?”
Jackson Demolition returned a bid of $203,505 for 1706 Carrie St., 955 Strong St. and 9 Backus St.
The same Schenectady-based firm offered a bid of $283,683 for 410 and 412 Schenectady St. and 410 Summit Ave.
Officials attributed the costs to asbestos remediation.
“That’s just what drives up the costs of having these demolitions done,” Councilwoman Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas said. “This is unfortunately what it costs now.”
City Director of Development Kristin Diotte said the demolitions are funded by federal Community Development Block Grants.
The Schenectady Street properties, located across the street from the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, will find new life as a sculpture garden, Diotte said, a project made possible through the city’s Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge.
The footprint at 410 Summit Ave. will be transformed into a garden and meditation space as part of New Choices Recovery Center.
“We’ve been really focused on trying to find good uses in these redevelopment areas for these blighted properties and we’re excited to move forward with it,” Diotte said.
Habitat for Humanity has said it will build a new house on the Carrie Street footprint, while the properties on Strong and Backus streets will be purchased by neighbors to expand their yards.
The Planning and Development Committee approved both demolition bids, which now head before the full City Council next week for final approval.
Demolitions typically cost approximately $55,000-$60,000 per single-family house, said city Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico last month.
The contracts stipulate Jackson Demolition must complete the work by July 2.
The demolitions are part of the city’s long-running effort to combat blight. Nearly 200 derelict properties have been demolished in recent years by a partnership of the city, Capital Region Land Bank and the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority.