Vacant Schenectady restaurant buildings to be demolished

FILE - The former R.J.'s Ritz Terrace and Gloria's on Van Vranken Avenue
FILE - The former R.J.'s Ritz Terrace and Gloria's on Van Vranken Avenue

SCHENECTADY — A pair of blighted buildings along Van Vranken Avenue are set to be demolished — the latest in a series of ongoing development initiatives happening in the city’s northside neighborhood. 

The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, last week, announced it would contribute $200,000 to demolish 1725 and 1733 Van Vranken Ave., once home to the Ritz Terrace and Gloria’s Sports Bar & Grill Restaurant, respectively. The buildings are adjacent to a Stewart’s gas station on one of the busiest thoroughfares in the Goose Hill neighborhood.

“It is time for both of these blighted buildings to come down, and we hope this opens the door to more investment and more upgrades on the Van Vranken corridor,” Ray Gillen, Metroplex chair, said in a statement.

Funding will cover asbestos abatement, demolition and cleanup of the two properties, including the removal of underground fuel tanks and grading of the properties to make them shovel-ready for future development, according to a news release.

Metroplex is working with a local developer who hopes to build at the site, though it’s unclear what is planned for the site at this time.

Officials said demolishing the buildings will add to ongoing development efforts taking place in the neighborhood, including a $100 million investment to restore the Yates Village municipal housing complex, which is now known as Northside Village. Elsewhere, a separate $15 million housing development, Reserve at Towpath Trails just off North End Drive, is nearing completion as well.

In recent years, several blighted homes in the neighborhood were demolished by the Capital Region Land Bank in order to make way for new home construction by Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady.

“These buildings have long been vacant and underperforming on one of the Northside’s busiest business corridors,” said Schenectady County Legislator Richard Ruzzo, chair of the Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, in a statement. “Making the parcels shovel-ready for development will make it easier to bring new investment to the area and complements several other projects that have contributed to the ongoing revitalization of the Northside.”

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.  

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