SCHENECTADY — Eco-friendly developments in Schenectady and the town of Amsterdam were each awarded $1 million grants in the third round of the state’s Buildings of Excellence Competition this past week.
The Lafayette Apartments project on 31 Lafayette St. in Schenectady will provide the city with 64 new downtown housing units. The carbon neutral-ready building is being developed by the Rosenblum Group and designed by architect Michael Roman.
The Schenectady project was one of 14 projects selected statewide to receive a total of $48 million in funding.
“These are competitive grants, so the governor’s team picked Schenectady as one of 14 communities and it shows that we’re out there on the leading edge and we’re creating opportunities,” Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said on Wednesday. “We’re setting the standard for some of these development projects. I’m thankful that the governor and her team recognized Schenectady’s efforts and to be able to work with Rosenblum going forward to get that project underway and get it completed.”
The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority is providing $150,000 toward the cost of demolishing the existing printing press building at 31 Lafayette St. to clear the way for the new eco-friendly apartment complex. Site work is set to begin on the development later this year.
The competition, which was administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), comes with a state funding commitment of $1 million.
The awards, which were announced last week at a ceremony in New York City, are designed to recognize and fund low-carbon or carbon neutral multifamily buildings.
“Having a project in downtown Schenectady selected for a Building of Excellence award is great recognition of the fact that we are building a downtown that is both attractive and green,” said Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen. “We congratulate the team of Rosenblum and Roman for winning this award and we thank Governor [Kathy] Hochul and NYSERDA for again stepping up to help revitalize Schenectady County.”
The competition supports the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050.
“I am passionate about developing buildings that are thoughtfully designed and carefully constructed to provide a comfortable environment for their occupants, while also making sure they are energy-efficient, affordable, resilient, and constructed in an environmentally responsible manner,” Rosenblum Group principal Jonathan Rosenblum said in a press release. “The entire project team shared this philosophy from the beginning, which is evident as the design has progressed. It is rewarding to have those efforts recognized. We are honored to be receiving a Buildings of Excellence award as we work collaboratively to bring The Lafayette from an idea to reality.”
The EcoFlats at Log City development in the town of Amsterdam was also awarded $1 million in the state competition. The apartment complex from the Bruns Realty Group includes a variety of eco-friendly design features including solar heating for all apartments and energy recovery ventilation.
“I’m very pleased that the developer won this award and it certainly means a lot to the town too,” Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said on Wednesday. “This is a project that everybody’s asking, ‘When are we gonna get started?’ We just can’t wait to get two shovels in the ground and get this project going. I’m just so pleased that they got the award. It’s going to be a big addition to the town. The way it’s going to be built, the development will mean so much to our retail area too because it will bring a lot of people in.”
DiMezza said he hopes the Amsterdam project will be shovel-ready this year.
“They’re in the final stages with the Planning Board and it’s pretty much set to go except for just a couple of minor adjustments with the Department of Health and the DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation] because we’re working with the city on the water and sewer,” the supervisor said. “We’re hoping that we get the permits issued and the shovels in the ground as soon as we can. I’m hoping by June.”
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