The new Schenectady County Department of Motor Vehicles building will cost more to renovate than expected, following the discovery of asbestos that will have to be removed during the renovation.
The county Legislature last Thursday approved $1.275 million in construction contracts for the building at 2025 State St., an empty former restaurant that will be converted into a new home for the DMV. The authorization included added about $316,000 to the project budget.
The revised budget was approved and contracts awarded after it was explained that during design of the new facility, it was determined that there was asbestos in both the ceiling and floor of the building, and some of the insulation materials were in worse condition than anticipated. No objection was raised to the additional spending.
Asbestos, once widely used as a fire-retardant, is believed to cause cancer and serious lung disease, and its removal requires specialized handling and disposal.
The current DMV office at 267 State St. will be sold later this year as part of an arrangement to expand the successful New York BizLab, located near the DMV. BizLab is an incubator for startup businesses.
County officials approved the move because the downtown location doesn't have its own parking lot and the county's lease on a nearby private lot expires next year. The 2025 State St. location, a former International House of Pancakes, includes parking.
The county paid $600,000 for the property, which is being partially offset by $250,000 from the sale of the downtown building. Earlier this year, the Legislature approved borrowing up to $1.4 million to cover the costs.
County officials hope to open the new DMV location by early fall. The county DMV handles about 100,000 transactions per year.