The town of Rotterdam has signed a 10-year lease to move town hall operations from its current 1100 Sunrise Boulevard location to the old KMart facility in ViaPort Rotterdam.
The lease, which was signed Nov. 2, states the town will pay $8 per square foot for 50,000 square feet of space., which will be paid in 12 equal monthly installments.
“The town values the strong working relationship it has formed with Via Port over the years and was able to negotiate a lease that remains stable at $8 per square foot for the life of the contract,” said town officials in an emailed statement from The Martin Group, the public relations firm the town hired. “If someone else purchases the property the town would have a new landlord.”
The town is expected to begin paying rent once the area is done being retrofitted. The target date for that is April 1, town officials said.
KMart closed in the mall in 2018, following the announcement that parent company Sears had filed for bankruptcy.
The town began negotiations for leasing the space in August. In July the town announced it had hired Albany engineering firm Barton & Loguidice for $32,000 to develop a plan to reconfigure the 80,000-square-foot facility.
A $1 million security deposit will also be paid, according to the lease agreement.
The town said the $1 million deposit would be “invested in the required retrofitting and upgrading of the space, including improving court function and safety of the police department and justice court.”
The town would be responsible for utilities, according to the lease.
The town said it would also have an option to buy the space once construction is completed.
The move was a recent topic of conversation during a town board meeting Monday.
Resident Sarah D’Elisis expressed concern during privilege of the floor regarding the move, listing out several questions to the board, including rent and what happens to town hall.
“That’s the only reason I came tonight to get some sort of answers,” she said. “Thank god for Facebook and Facebook posts or else we wouldn’t know what’s going on.
During that meeting Deputy Supervisor Evan Christou addressed D’Elisis but didn’t mention the town had already signed a lease agreement.
“The option to buy will be exercised quite quickly,” he said at the meeting.
He said town hall currently has many issues that need to be addressed, with repairs costing close to $1 million.
“If you come into the supervisor’s office in a couple of months in the middle of winter you’ll see about seven buckets because of the condition of the roof here,” Christou said.
The police and court space also isn’t adequate, he said.
“We have a courtroom that is the size of a sardine can,” he said.
Christou said they would rather not spend $1 million dollars fixing the building and still not have it be able to meet all of their needs.
D’Elisis said she couldn’t see the town not spending less than $1 million at the ViaPort location.
Supervisor-elect Mollie Collins is against the move.
“I just don’t see the benefit,” she said Friday.
She said the ViaPort is 33 years old and the facility has been left vacant for a couple of years now.
“Buildings and houses usually deteriorate when people aren’t living or working in it,” she said.
She also said the scope of work needed to retrofit the building to meet the town’s needs will be costly.
Collins plans to speak to the town attorney about what legal rights the town has once she takes office, she said.
Fuat Agsak, the business development director for ViaPort USA, could not be reached for comment.
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Categories: Schenectady County