The long-awaited Esplanade project that Mechanicville city officials hope will help revitalize downtown may have more apartments and a bigger price tag.
Developers plan to build 339 apartments rather than the 225 previously approved. The additional housing units along the Hudson River at the north end of the city would replace most of the 37,000 square feet of retail space that was originally planned.
Because of the change, the project’s cost is increasing from $41 million to $58 million, developers said.
There seems to be more of a market locally for housing than retail, noted Mechanicville Supervisor Tom Richardson, citing development in Malta as an example.
“There’s a flood of retail and there’s just so many spots that we can fill here,” Richardson said, adding that although Malta developers are having trouble filling retail spaces with tenants, their apartments are in demand.
“This project is going to bring a lot to Mechanicville,” he said. Officials expect between 400 and 500 people to live at the complex once it is completed, and Richardson said their presence will boost local businesses and increase sales tax revenue for the city.
“All those people are going to spend money in Mechanicville,” Richardson said.
Mechanicville has experienced a population decline since much of the city’s industry left and people found homes off the Northway in other Saratoga County communities more attractive. But Mechanicville has things going for it, Richardson said, including the ease of walking downtown to stores, restaurants and spots such as the library and post office.
The housing complex on routes 4 and 32 will be close enough to walk to all of it, he said.
City officials have said they hope to attract people relocating here for GlobalFoundries and other high-tech businesses, since Mechanicville is only 10 to 15 minutes from the Luther Forest campus in Malta.
In addition to the additional apartments, the plan adds a covered parking area, said owner Bill McNeary IV, president of Logistics One in Saratoga Springs.
Also, McNeary has joined with Eastview Development in Webster for financing and development.
“I am very excited to partner with Bob [Kohn, principal at Eastview] and his group,” McNeary said in an email. “They are experts in multifamily housing projects.”
McNeary is working to secure approval from the Mechanicville and Stillwater planning boards for the revisions. Most of the 11-acre property is in Mechanicville and a small part of it lies in Stillwater.
The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will feature hardwood floors, granite countertops, ceramic tile and washers and dryers, the developers said, and a boardwalk outside will lead to the Hudson River and a deck overlooking the river will include outdoor fire pits for entertaining.
The complex also is expected to include a gym, an indoor pool and hot tub, an outdoor reflecting pool that be will transformed into a skating rink in the winter, and a convenience store and cafe.
The Esplanade will replace a former Leonard Bus Sales warehouse that is expected to be demolished next month. That business has moved to Saratoga Springs. Developers expect the apartments to be ready for residents by June 2014.
The project was approved in 2011 for a break on its property taxes. The Mechanicville/Stillwater Industrial Development Agency then approved a 20-year schedule of payments that would save McNeary hundreds of thousands of dollars, allowing him to pay $25,000 a year for the first five years that would be split among the city, the town of Stillwater and the two school districts. The Mechanicville City School District would also get an additional $25,000 a year.
Payments would increase in the sixth year based on the square footage, and by the final year, McNeary would pay $618,860.