SCHENECTADY — Another notable old building located downtown is getting a facelift.
Work started last week on the renovation of the former Gazette press building at 132 Broadway.
Redburn Development Partners is working with Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority to develop a mixed-use building at the former site of the Gazette’s printing plant. The newspaper’s newsroom and business offices were located nearby on State Street.
Metroplex in January announced a deal to sell the property along with neighboring 136 Broadway to the developer for $325,000.
The authority is providing a $95,000 grant toward facade renovation costs.
“We are excited to move forward with this important historic preservation project,” said Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen in press release. “It is great to work once again with Redburn to bring back to life a key building located in the center of downtown.”
Work includes repairing the foundation, replacing metal panels, repointing terracotta joints and other work, Metroplex said in the release.
“Our goal is to get the facade down immediately,” Gillen said. “That’s one of the biggest eyesores we need to attack downtown.”
PCC Contracting of Schenectady aims to have the facade completed by winter, after which work will move indoors.
The project marks Redburn’s expanding footprint in the city:
The Schenectady-based developer previously renovated the Fitzgerald and Foster buildings, both of which house a combination of apartments and retail space, including the Clinton Street Mercantile.
The ground floors of 132 and 136 Broadway are connected and plans call for retail space. The upper levels, with high ceilings and wide open spaces, are slated to become 20 or more apartments.
Redburn principal Jeff Buell previously estimated the project would cost between $4 million to $5 million.
The Edison Tech Center had occupied the former Gazette building until 2018, when it lost a court battle with the city over ownership of the building. The tech center had purchased the building from the city with the agreement that it would be brought up to city code. After a number of years the city went to court to take the building back, contending the tech center did not uphold its part of the agreement.
Metroplex is also partnering with Redburn to redevelop the site of the former Citizens Bank at 501 State St.
Redburn acquired the property in August and plans to tear down the irregular-shaped brick building and develop a mixed-use building on the footprint, which will temporarily serve as a parking lot.
The developers hope to demolish the building by year’s end following asbestos remediation, which Damien Pinto-Martin, vice president of development at Redburn, estimated on Wednesday will take between three and four weeks.
Buell previously said the project may exceed $15 million, and Metroplex will provide a $295,000 grant toward project costs.
The city Planning Commission formally authorized demolition of the building and the construction of a temporary parking lot on Wednesday.
“We’re looking to stabilize the property through the winter and come back in the spring with a further development plan,” said Pinto-Martin at last month’s city Planning Commission meeting. “We’re most comfortable with mixed-use buildings and we’ve had a lot of success with mixed-use buildings.”
Gillen said the development would boost Barrett and Clinton streets, a key focus.
“We’re not going to leave that site empty,” he said.
Redburn is also overhauling eight buildings in downtown Albany as part of $80 million effort to build 330 apartments paired with retail space.
And they’ve recently purchased 19 buildings in the city’s Stockade neighborhood.