GLENVILLE -- Schenectady County plans to sell 6.7 acres at the Schenectady County Airport to allow for the development of what is expected to be a $10 million building for a technology company.
County officials said the 47,000-square-foot building will be built by Highbridge Development of Schenectady for a technology company that they won't identify. Plans would allow for a 40,000-square-foot addition later.
"It's a technology company that looked at numerous locations and settled on the airport property," said Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen.
The County Legislature on Monday began laying the groundwork for what will be a complicated land transaction, because the building site near the corner of Airport and Tower roads is leased in part to Mohawk Honda, which uses it for vehicle storage. Mohawk's inventory will be moved to a different location on the airport property.
The county has leased or sold much of the available land at the airport for business use over the last 15 years, in what is called the Airport Business Park.
The land in question will be returned to the property tax rolls, Gillen said. The property has been off the tax rolls since at least 1927, when the county acquired it while establishing the county airport.
The property includes a blue masonry garage-style building that Gillen said was once an airplane hangar, along with the land used by Mohawk Honda, which is sub-leasing it from Richmor Aviation, the airport operator, which leases it from the county. The Mohawk storage lot will be moved to nearby land next to the county skating rink.
“It cleans up really a kind of non-descript part of the airport now," Gillen said.
The plans are scheduled to go before the Glenville Planning and Zoning Commission for conceptual site plan review and possible change in zoning next Monday. Changing the zoning from "airport" to "research/development/technology" would also require Glenville Town Board approval, but the town supervisor said he supports the project.
"Ray has been working with us on it for some time," said Supervisor Chris Koetzle. "We're excited that we will be welcoming this new business to the town of Glenville."
Highbridge Development will be paying the county roughly $100,000 per acre for the land, though the actual amount will be determined by an appraisal, Gillen said. Potentially, it means $670,000 in one-time revenue to the county, he said.
Highbridge has built other Schenectady County projects, including the Time Warner Building in Rotterdam, Mansion Square in Niskayuna, the Electric City Apartments in Schenectady, and the former Grand Union building on Hamburg Street in Rotterdam. It is currently building an office building at 388 Broadway in Schenectady, which upon completion will be leased by the county for office use. It also built a new hangar at the airport in 2015.
Highbridge hopes to be able to break ground this summer. "We are excited to be working with Schenectady County, Metroplex and the town of Glenville to build a new tech building at the Airport Business Park," said Highbridge CEO John Roth.
The county has made efforts in the last year or so to make the airport property more attractive for development.
Gillen said the county has used part of a $330,000 grant from the state's Regional Economic Development Council program to extend the main road at the airport northward to Rudy Chase Drive, where there is a traffic light at Route 50. That will allow county officials to close the Route 50 entrance at Airport Road, currently the only entrance to the airport without a traffic light.
Gillen said Metroplex has also spent $160,000 expanding water service on the airport property, as part of an effort to attract more tenants.
The County Legislature is expected to take initial steps toward selling the land on Tuesday, April 9, including giving Richmor 90-day notice that it plans to take back the land, and agreeing to a new $800 per month lease with Mohawk Honda. Gillen said a required public hearing on the land sale could take place as soon as May, assuming the land appraisal is available by then.
Other business tenants at the airport include DSM (formerly Fortitech), REVA air ambulance, a Navy Reserve Center, Bruno Associates, and an under-construction building for C2 Design.