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Work on city center addition to start

Work on city center addition to start

A long-planned $16 million expansion of the Saratoga Springs City Center on Broadway will be started

A long-planned $16 million expansion of the Saratoga Springs City Center on Broadway will be started in late spring, increasing the center’s total square footage to 74,000 square feet, center officials said Monday.

The center’s open atrium at the corner of Broadway and Ellsworth Jones Place will be removed and replaced with a modernistic, two-story addition covered with windows.

A total of $12 million of the money comes from a state grant awarded the center more than a year ago and the other $4 million is money the City Center Authority has saved from its hotel room occupancy tax revenue over the past five years, according to Michael Toohey, a local lawyer and City Center Authority chairman.

City Mayor Scott Johnson said that no city tax money will be used and city taxes will not be increased for the expansion and renovation of the center that opened in 1984.

The expansion, which will be done during the center’s 25th anniversary, will take 14 months to complete, but during that time the center will remain open for convention business, Toohey said during a presentation Monday evening at the City Center.

City center director Mark Baker said increasing the center’s total square footage from the center’s current 52,000 square feet to 74,000 square feet will allow the center to “remain competitive and expand our reach.”

Baker estimated that the expansion, which will produce 12,000 square feet of new income-producing meeting space plus badly needed additional support space and building renovations, will increase the City Center’s usage by 40 percent over three years.

“It will allow the facility to host larger groups and handle their numerous activities,” Baker said. “Importantly, the expansion will give the facility the capacity to host multiple groups simultaneously.”

Johnson said the expansion and renovation are fully supported by the City Council.

Toohey noted that the center has always operated in the black and the authority has never had to ask the city for money or borrow money.

The center expansion has been discussed and planned for the past decade. The authority has been involved in the design phase for the past three years.

The center expansion, which will also include new building space along Ellsworth Jones Place (the former Grove Street), does not include additional parking.

“The expansion was designed from the inside out, focusing first on the function of the interior spaces — where the money is made — before designing the exterior,” Baker said.

“The expansion on the corner of Broadway and Ellsworth Jones Place will bring renewed energy and appeal to the northern entrance of our primary business district by creating a dynamic and iconic corner,” Toohey said in a statement.

The change in elevation from Broadway down to Maple Avenue is being addressed by a large interior stairway with an escalator running next to it.

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