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What you need to know for 01/18/2017

Amsterdam, county officials to show off Chalmers site to developers

Amsterdam, county officials to show off Chalmers site to developers

City and county officials are welcoming developers to the city this week to spark some interest in t

City and county officials are welcoming developers to the city this week to spark some interest in the new waterfront site made available by demolition of the former Chalmers Knitting Mill complex.

The city of Amsterdam and Montgomery County Business Development Center scheduled tours and a luncheon for Thursday on the city’s South Side, with plans to distribute a request for proposals for the 3.5-acre site that sits at the center of several projects.

Thursday’s event will also give the city a chance to pitch development of the former Esquire Novelty building site, Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane said Tuesday.

Planning is ongoing on other development projects, including construction of the city’s pedestrian bridge, the entrance to which will be located next to the Chalmers site. The city is eyeing an extension of Riverlink Park to meet with the northern end of the pedestrian bridge, while also considering relocating the Amtrak train station closer to downtown.

“We hope to have an interesting discussion on Thursday about the potential uses of the site,” Thane said.

The Chalmers buildings loomed over the South Side unused and deteriorating for decades before generating interest from one developer who sought to rehabilitate the buildings into upscale apartments. His plan languished, though, and the city won the right to set the agreement aside and tear down the more-than-90-year-old mill complex.

Now the Chalmers parcel represents one of few, if not the only, riverfront sites ripe for development. “This is one of the very few potential sites along the Mohawk in our county, especially in a location such as this, in the heart of the city,” said Ken Rose, director of the Montgomery County Business Development Center.

Rose said officials expect to have refined numbers on funding later this week, but he said there’s roughly $500,000 left over from a Restore NY grant dedicated to the Chalmers site. That money could help offset some costs a developer faces.There’s no set plans for the parcel, and all ideas will be welcome, Rose said.

“Really, I think any and all ideas are open at this point, depending on what the developers come back with,” he said.

So far, Thane said there’s been discussion about the Chalmers site being a good spot for mixed development, with commercial space at ground level and residential use on upper floors — though a hotel and conference center would be an acceptable idea, as well.

Some developers have already responded to invites, and the city was sending notes out to others Tuesday, Thane said.

Representatives from the city, its Industrial Development and Urban Renewal agencies and the Montgomery County Business Development Center will be greeting guests at a noon luncheon Thursday at La Cucina de Parillo at One Port Jackson Square on the South Side, followed by a walking tour of the Chalmers site.

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