YWCA gets Schenectady OK for new apartment building

Project will boost affordable housing
The exterior entrance to the YWCA of Northeastern NY's facility at 44 Washington Ave.
The exterior entrance to the YWCA of Northeastern NY's facility at 44 Washington Ave.

SCHENECTADY — City planners have approved YWCA Northeastern New York’s request to build a 54-unit apartment building on their Stockade property.

The structure will be constructed behind their 38-40 Washington Ave. location and will largely be shielded from public view.

“It doesn’t have a street presence,” said Brian Loughlin, the project’s architect.

YWCA NENY will seek historic tax credits to help pay for the effort, which comes with a price tag between $15 million and $20 million, according to Executive Director Kim Siciliano.

Siciliano said the expansion is two years in the making and fills the crunch for affordable housing units in the city.

Commissioners unanimously approved the project last Wednesday and praised the building’s integration into the YWCA campus.

Residents, too, applauded the design but expressed concerns about increased traffic and congestion.

“Our concerns really relate to traffic density, parking and deliveries,” said Thomas Sauer.

As part of the expansion, the facility’s main entrance will be moved to the back of the property, a measure officials believe will reduce congestion on Washington Avenue.

A new parking lot with spots for 36 vehicles will be built on the site of the tennis court, which has fallen into disrepair and is not currently being utilized.

Officials are also asking companies like Sysco, which makes weekly deliveries, to use smaller trucks.

“They definitely are working with purveyors to mitigate that issue because it’s something they have recognized is an issue as well,” said John Montagne, an engineering consultant.

Neighborhood resident Robin White said the proposed building, one brick structure with four gables, is consistent with the neighborhood’s historic character, and is a nod to historical architectural motifs present in English country gardens.

As part of a proposed second phase, YWCA NENY aims to internally renovate the existing building, which was built in 1930 and is now outdated and inefficient, and plant more trees on the property. 

The nonprofit’s Single Room Occupancy program on provides women with emergency, temporary and permanent housing.

YWCA NENY’s existing space would be converted to studio, one- and two-bedroom units designed to accommodate an additional 35 to 45 mixed-income residents, while existing programming space would be renovated.

The Stockade Association signed off on the project after YWCA NENY accommodated several requests, including reducing the number of units.

“It’s a very special sort of institution we definitely support and we definitely support this project,” said Suzy Unger, the association’s president.

Officials hope to begin construction in mid-2021 with a completion date in mid-2023.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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