24-unit apartment building proposed on Lower State Street in Schenectady

This building at 224 State St. in Schenectady would be demolished to make way for an apartment building.

This building at 224 State St. in Schenectady would be demolished to make way for an apartment building.

SCHENECTADY — A new building with 24 apartments above a two-level parking garage is proposed on Lower State Street near Erie Boulevard.

Highbridge Prime Development proposes to demolish vacant older buildings at 224 and 230 State St. to make way for the project, which is the second phase of their Electric City Apartments next door at 236 State St.

The project will go before the Schenectady Planning Commission on Wednesday.

Highbridge Prime is a joint venture of Highbridge Development of Schenectady and Prime Properties of Latham. Highbridge Development CEO John Roth said the new building will be mostly two-bedroom apartments with the same fit and finish as Electric City.

“The only difference with this one is we don’t have first-floor retail on State Street,” he said.

Except for the vestibule entrance to the apartments, Electric City’s facade on State Street is entirely glass storefronts. The space has proved hard to fill during the pandemic, but Roth said a tenant has signed a lease and potentially two others have shown interest.

The new building would have a two-level garage at its base. The lower level of the garage would have a rear driveway onto Erie Street and be reserved for tenants, while the upper level would have a front driveway onto State Street and be designated for employees of the retail storefronts on the ground floor of Electric City.

With Planning Board approval and final design work, demolition and then construction could start in the middle of this year.

“We’re thinking hopefully by the end of the second quarter of 2022,” Roth said.

The ballpark budget for the project is $8 million.

This compares with $26 million for the 107-unit Phase I of Electric City Apartments. The first tenants moved into that building in April 2019 and it now enjoys near-full occupancy, minus the regular churn of people moving in and out.

“Our average occupancy is in the high 90s,” Roth said.

This project would be another step in the revitalization of Lower State Street. Many steps have been taken but many more must come before that process is complete.

The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority has been actively working toward the goal and supporting other people who are working toward that goal.

The area has benefited from tens of millions of dollars worth of construction but there are still multiple vacant and/or deteriorating buildings along the stretch from Erie Boulevard to Washington Avenue.

“We’re aware of every single building, we’re working very hard on the whole area,” Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said.

More people living there adds a vibrancy to the corridor, he said, welcoming the concept of a Phase II for Electric City Apartments.

“I think it shows the residential market is strong,” he said. “It brings more people and activity to Lower State.”

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