SCHENECTADY — An architectural rendering shows the potential reuse of a Broadway site, but the buildings are not ready for their makeover.
The exteriors of 132 and 136 Broadway are merely worn but the interiors are contaminated and cluttered. The buildings are thought to have good potential for redevelopment, however, given their close proximity of downtown State Street and the high ceilings inside and the uncommon metal-clad exterior of the taller of the two buildings.
A lot of cleanup will need to be done first.
Golden Oak Property Group LLC of Schenectady was hired at a cost of $21,000 to empty the buildings of rubbish and leftover artifacts from the museum that previously owned them, according to the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, which is handling their redevelopment. Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said going floor-by-floor and room-by-room, the contractor has removed 20 tons of material so far and isn’t done yet.
“It’s not as bad as Foster but it’s up there,” Gillen said, referring to the landmark Foster Building nearby on State Street. “Foster was 500,000 pounds of stuff.”
The two Broadway buildings once housed the old Schenectady Gazette printing press and warehouse (132 Broadway) and Skypes Carpet store (136 Broadway). More recently, they belonged to the Edison Tech Center, a museum dedicated to showing the historic impact of electricity on people’s lives. The Electric City Bike Rescue also operated there.
The city of Schenectady took the Tech Center to court, saying it had not made the improvements to the properties specified in its purchase agreement, and retook ownership this summer. The city had sold the buildings to the Tech Center for $1 each in 2004, but with stipulations. The Tech Center is now storing its artifacts at the current Daily Gazette building on Maxon Road Extension.
Exposed asbestos is present in the basement of 132 Broadway, so that space has been locked up, Gillen said.
“This was one of our concerns about this building,” he said.
The cost of remediation is still unknown; a consultant hasn’t provided an estimate.
Metroplex also hired Schenectady architectural firm Stracher Roth Gilmore to prepare a rendering of what the buildings could look like with repairs.
With the large windows, abundant natural light and high ceilings, the upstairs space would be an ideal candidate for commercial or residential space in the popular industrial chic style, Gillen has said.
Metroplex is welcoming inquiries from potential developers at this point.