SCHENECTADY — Plans to build a 24-unit apartment complex above a multi-floor parking structure along State Street are moving forward after receiving Planning Commission approval last week.
Highbridge Prime Development, a joint venture between developer John Roth’s Highbridge Development of Schenectady and Prime Properties of Latham, is behind the $8 million project at 224 State St., where groundbreaking is expected later this year.
Plans call for demolishing two vacant buildings at 224 and 230 State St. to make way for the new structure. The project, which will consist of mostly two-bedroom units, is the second phase of the Electric City Apartments complex completed in 2019 at the corner of State Street and Erie Boulevard.
The parking structure will feature two levels, with a below-ground floor featuring 24 parking spaces and the ground-level floor featuring 30 spaces, according to James Easton, a civil engineer with Prime.
Easton said the underground parking, which would exit onto Erie Street, is intended for residents, while the ground-level parking, with a driveway exiting onto State Street, would be used for retail shops located on the ground level of Electric City.
Renting the storefronts has proven difficult, and potential clients have expressed concerns about the lack of available parking in the immediate area, Easton said.
“The reason why you’re seeing a parking entrance off State Street for this project is to help out the commercial aspect of those tenants along State Street,” Easton said. “Some of the comments [Highbridge Prime] have gotten from prospective tenants is people don’t like to park down below at the garage and use the space. It doesn’t seem to work together nicely.”
A city-owned lot is located nearby on Hamilton Street.
But city code doesn’t allow for on-site parking to be reserved for properties located off-site, which means the parking would have to be reserved for residents only or open to the general public, according to Christine Primiano, the city’s principal planner.
“Parking for use by the commercial tenants of Electric City can only be permitted if it’s on the same property or if all parking is open to everyone in the public,” she said. “In other words, it’s not allowed as an ancillary lot.”
A zoning variance would be required if the parking plans are to remain as intended, Primiano said.
“That’s actually being discussed right now,” Easton said.
The new apartment complex is the latest in a series of redevelopment projects centered around lower State Street in recent years.
Millions have been poured into the area, including $20 million to construct the first phase of the Electric City Apartments, and more than $50 million for the Mill Artisan District, mixed-use facility housing apartments, office space and Frog Alley Brewing, among other retail options.
Meanwhile, Roth, the owner of Highbridge Development, is involved in a number of development projects scattered throughout the city, including plans to construct 15 townhouses along Barrett Street as part of ongoing efforts by the group Live In Schenectady — a consortium of local banks and businesses, including The Daily Gazette Co., dedicated to attracting new residents to the city.
He also received Planning Commission approval this past week to tear down a vacant warehouse at 133 Edison Ave. and build a new 10,000-square-foot facility. A tenant for the new warehouse near Interstate 890, has yet to be secured.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.