Former Chalmers site under $340K purchase option

Large empty buildings with broken windows.

FILE - The derelict Chalmers mill complex in Amsterdam is shown in December 2010, several months before its demolition.

AMSTERDAM — Redevelopment of the former Chalmers Knitting Mills site could be on the horizon if a developer exercises an option to buy the property from the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency for $340,000.

“It would be transformational for the city and the region if the project moves forward,” said Amanda Bearcroft, executive director of AIDA. “The economic impact it would bring to the area would just be astronomical.”

The purchase option is held by Five Corners Development based in Saratoga Springs. Sumeet Gupta is the managing partner of the commercial real estate development and asset management company, which has no connection to the infamous Amsterdam intersection of the same name.

AIDA’s board of directors authorized the purchase option with the developer for an upfront payment of $9,000. The developer is determining the feasibility of a possible mixed-use project at the South Side site.

Five Corners Development has until April 19 to exercise its option to buy the vacant 3.3 acre lot at the corner of Bridge Street and Gilliland Avenue,  unless an extension is granted by the board.

AIDA Board Chairman Joseph Emanuele expects the developer to make a decision next month.

“I’m staying very optimistic about the future of that South Side project,” Emanuele said. “We hope the developer doesn’t walk away, but then again it’s a board decision on how we proceed forward.”

The developer is mulling a mixed-use concept involving residential and commercial uses, which could extend beyond the Chalmers property, according to Emanuele.

“At this time we’re not revealing any details per their request, but we hope in the very near future to open it up to the entire public,” he said.

The developer is considering options to incorporate previously stalled plans by the Lanzi Family to operate a brewery on a portion of the site, according to Bearcroft. The project was awarded a $250,000 state grant, but the sum was only a third of the aid requested to advance plans.

If the developer exercises its option, Charles Schwartz, attorney for the AIDA, estimated it would take around 60 or 90 days to complete the sale. He indicated a final sale agreement would include a reverter clause enabling the agency to reclaim the property if redevelopment plans fail to materialize.

“At this point we’re just at a very early stage and they’re working on the numbers before they bring it back to us,” Emanuele said. “We have good faith in this developer’s passion to make something happen in that region.”

The former Chalmers property has seemingly been on the cusp of redevelopment for around a decade since the deteriorating mill was razed and then environmental remediation of the contaminated site was completed in 2012.

The city eventually authorized a purchase option for the site with KCG Development in October 2017. The deal was renewed several times before officials declined further extensions, leading KCG to buy the property for $297,000 in late 2019.

The following year, KCG sold the property to AIDA for $300,000 after local support faded for plans to build a $34 million workforce housing complex and banquet hall on the site, stifling attempts to secure tax credits. The AIDA has since been marketing it for redevelopment.

Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

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