GLENVILLE — Plans to construct a new town hall and public safety building have hit an inflationary snag following years of delay.
A series of proposals submitted by developers for the construction of a new 24,300-square-foot facility that would house the town’s government center and safety complex, including the police department and court operations, ranged in price from $12 million to $23 million, far exceeding the project’s original projected cost of around $6 million, according to Supervisor Chris Koetzle.
“They’ve come back considerably more expensive than we had hoped,” he said.
Koetzle said a special committee appointed to review the proposals will meet with developers in the coming days to discuss how to reduce the price and discuss additional options for the project moving forward. He hopes to schedule a presentation on the proposals to update the public at a Town Board this month.
The town has long been seeking to construct a new municipal center to replace its current facility at 18 Glenridge Road that officials have said is too small and in need of millions in renovations. But plans have been delayed by a funding snafu and the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.
In 2017, the town was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the state’s Dormitory Authority to help offset project costs, but the funds were never released, causing the town to pause the project until the issue could be sorted. Koetzle said the town is still trying to secure the state funding, but remains hopeful that the issue could be rectified in the near future.
The town also explored building a joint government center with the village of Scotia, which delayed the project further. Plans were later changed, and the village is now developing plans to renovate its own village hall, with the hope of breaking ground on the project in May.
But high inflation and global supply chain issues have since emerged, which have driven up material and labor costs and threaten to delay the project further, Koetzle said.
“We’re not really prepared to go forward with such high proposals,” he said. “But that’s why these interviews are going to be so important because we’re really going to set expectations for the developers and see what we can do to get back in line with something that’s a little more reasonable.”
In September, the town issued a request for qualifications seeking a developer for the project, with plans calling for a contract to be awarded by May and construction to be wrapped August 2025.
As part of the proposal, the town offered developers a pair of town-owned properties — including 18 Glenridge Road, where the current municipal center sits, and the adjacent 4.5-acre lot at 24 Glenridge Road — in hopes of offsetting the costs for the municipal complex and bringing new development to the area.
The two properties are adjacent to a pair of shopping centers that run along Route 50, as well as the Hampton Run apartment complex. The Glenville branch of the Schenectady County Public Library sits between the two properties.
But project costs were still high even with the property exchange. The current municipal complex has an appraised value of $700,000, and the adjacent property at 24 Glenridge Road is assessed at $180,400, according to county property records. The town is exploring other ways to offset the cots, including using capital reserves and federal coronavirus-relief funds, though no decisions have been made at this time, Koetzle said.
Three companies submitted proposals, including LeChase Construction Services, C2 Design Group and the New York Development Group, which proposed rebuilding the existing municipal facility, building a new facility on Airport Road and converting the old Mekeel Christian Academy on Cypress Drive, respectively. The companies are seeking to construct housing units on the town-owned properties.
Koetzle said the town will require any traffic for the Cypress Drive proposal to go through a new road that would need to be constructed connecting the facility to Van Buren Road to ensure traffic would not be an issue through the local neighborhood.
“That neighborhood would be closed off and insulated from any traffic,” he said. “We would find another way in and out.”
He said the town is examining other options, including an original proposal to build a new town hall and covenant the existing facility into a public safety complex. A joint campus that would house the Schenectady County library could also be a possibility, though details would need to be worked out.
“We’ve explored many options,” Koetzle said.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.
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