SCHENECTADY — The redevelopment of one of downtown’s most prominent buildings is continuing to inch forward following years of legal wrangling.
The City Council on Monday is expected to approve the release of an easement the city has held since 1928 for a parking lot located at 271-277 State St., the home of the oft-cited Wedgeway Building, eliminating one more obstacle in redeveloping the property, according to Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority.
“There’s no need for this easement and getting rid of it is another step — a small step, but very important step — in redeveloping the Wedgeway Building at the corner of State and Erie,” Gillen told members of the council’s Development & Planning Committee last week.
Metroplex, for months, has been quietly working on a proposal to add the building to the state and national historic registries in the hopes of unlocking a number of historic tax credits that can be used to redevelop the now vacant building.
The building is located near a number of development projects completed in recent years, including the Artisan Mill District and the Electric City Apartments, which will be entering its second phase in the coming months.
A nominating proposal was reviewed by the city’s Historic District Commission last month and was unanimously approved. The proposal is expected to be reviewed by the state’s Historic Preservation Office on March 10, according to Gillen.
If approved, the building would be added to the state register and the application would be forwarded to the National Park Service for review and listing on the national register.
Built in 1880, the Wedgeway Building was once home to a number of prominent retail and artistic venues, including the State Theatre, which opened in 1922 and closed in the 1970s.
But the building has fallen out of prominence over the decades as the city sank into an economic slump brought on by the decline of General Electric and other prominent industries that once dominated the city. The building has changed hands over the years and most recently housed more than 30 apartment units on the upper floors as well as a number of retail shops.
The building, however, now sits empty after its last tenet, The Photo-Lab, closed last year.
For years, the city has been locked in an ongoing legal battle with the building’s owner, William Eichengrun, over a number of code violations that have gone unaddressed. A chain-link fence currently surrounds a portion of the building to protect pedestrians from falling debris.
Eichengrun could not be reached for comment.
The building is currently listed for sale on the commercial real-estate website, Loopnet.com, which lists the $2.6 million building as “under contract.”
The listing boasts about millions in redevelopment efforts that have occurred in the city in recent years, as well as a number of potential funding opportunities, including those available from Metroplex and the state’s Historic Preservation Office.