Schenectady

Cleanup of upcoming building sites moves forward in Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill

Locations include former dry cleaning business, auto body supply shop, paint store
834 Albany St. was demolished to make way for an affordable housing project in March.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
834 Albany St. was demolished to make way for an affordable housing project in March.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — The state’s environmental agency has formally recommended the cleanup of two former building sites at the corner of Albany and Craig streets in Hamilton Hill.

A report released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Wednesday is asking Community Builders, who want to construct affordable housing on the footprints, to develop a cleanup plan to remedy the pollutants left after years of commercial and industrial use.

The locations, which are currently fenced off, previously contained residential and commercial operations, including a dry cleaning business, auto body supply shop and a paint store. 

The structures were torn down earlier this year.

Community Builders plans on redeveloping 830 and 834 Albany St. as part of the second phase of their affordable housing projects in Hamilton Hill. 

The DEC’s Brownfield Cleanup Program will allow the project to receive tax credits toward 4 percent of the total cost of the cleanup.

“We are cleaning up those areas through our overall development effort and we’ve enabled various financing mechanisms to do that,” said Jennica Huff, senior project manager with the Community Builders.

The $40 million second phase of the Boston-based developer’s project in the neighborhood will include a mix of low-to-moderate income apartments and commercial and retail space. 

“We’ve assembled all finances for the creation of 85 family rental units in three target areas,” Huff said on Wednesday.

The cost of the cleanup is included in the overall project cost.

The report reveals the soil is contaminated down to 12 feet. Investigators discovered several metals, including lead, mercury and zinc, and pesticides as well as several semi-volatile organic compounds referred to as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Groundwater was also found to be contaminated with chloroform and tetrachloroethene, which are associated with solvents. 

Three abandoned storage tanks remain on the site. One is buried and the other two are partially buried within a concrete retaining wall in the basement of 830 Albany St.

Before remediation can begin, DEC must complete its review, make any necessary revisions and approve the investigation report, if appropriate. 

Community Builders will be required to develop a cleanup plan and present it to the state agency. DEC will then present the draft plan to the public for review and comment during a 45-day period.

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