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Proposed Schenectady artisan district benefits from $2.2 million in state funding

Proposed Schenectady artisan district benefits from $2.2 million in state funding

Proposed Schenectady artisan district benefits from $2.2 million in state funding
Buildings at the corner of Mill and State streets in Schenectady Thursday, December 8, 2016.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Seven buildings on Schenectady’s lower State Street corridor will be refurbished after a revitalization effort on Thursday received state funding.

The Mill Artisan District is a project that will revitalize seven buildings along lower State Street, Mill Lane and South Church Street. The structures will be converted to housing, office space and artist studios. The proposal was among the local developments to get funding at Thursday’s Regional Economic Development Council Awards in Albany.

The project will benefit from $2.325 million in funding, which is the fourth highest amount among the Capital Region Economic Development Council proposals.

The total project cost is expected to be $14.1 million, according to the council’s proposal.

“It’s a very distressed area and these buildings are going to get a major facelift and major renovation,” said Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority. “It’ll be a major boost to the area.”

The buildings are just a couple blocks from the Stockade district and Schenectady County Community College. That portion of State Street has been a focus of revitalization efforts, with planned changes to Gateway Park and the renovation of the old YMCA building located nearby.

There’s still work that needs to be done before the project can get underway, Gillen said. It has to go through the city’s Planning Commission, and there is some environmental cleanup that needs to take place, he said. The goal is to begin work next year.

Some retailers are already interested in the future space, Gillen said, including companies that specialize in locally produced and sold products.

The development council lists the project as a collaboration between Schenectady-based Re4orm Architecture and Metroplex.

Gillen said Metroplex will help, but it hasn’t made any financial commitments yet. Thursday’s award will allow developers to use state resources for The Mill Artisan District so Metroplex funds can be conserved for other projects, Gillen said.

The project is expected to create 200 construction jobs, plus another 175 jobs that include housing and food/maker positions, according to the Capital Region Economic Development Council’s proposal.

The Mill Artisan District was noted as one of the priority projects for the Capital Region council, which is one of 10 councils statewide to pitch development ideas to state decision-makers. Those councils learned Thursday how much funding they received for their proposals, with the Capital Region taking in $83.1 million total for 116 projects.

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