Schenectady’s senator is coming to the city today to put in a good word for the city’s $3 million demolition loan application.
The City Council applied for the loan after much debate this summer. The application is pending at the local U.S. Housing and Urban office.
Today, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., will ask the HUD secretary to expedite the application and approve it quickly, according to his news release announcing the event.
He plans to tour part of Broadway, where some residents and business owners want many buildings demolished.
Business owners throughout the city have argued that the presence of abandoned buildings, some of which have been vacant for decades, brings down property values and hurts nearby businesses.
Schumer will make his announcement while standing outside an abandoned house at 2033 Broadway.
He said he will argue that the house should be razed to improve the neighborhood.
The HUD loan would allow Schenectady to demolish dozens of buildings — possibly 80 or more.
But it also includes a controversial proposal to help a private developer.
The city would use $500,000 of the $3 million loan to demolish a single building, owned by Galesi Group.
The group wants the building removed so that it can more affordably build a new apartment building at the site.
City officials said they could only get the loan if it included a project for new housing, so they urged the council to approve it.
The building is the former Department of Social Services on Nott Street, which Galesi bought but has not yet paid taxes on, through a deal with the county.
Galesi Group officials have argued that their apartment project would not be affordable if they also had to pay for demolition.
The city will have to pay off the entire loan over the course of 20 years.