Updated: Jul 1, 2021
A 17,000-square-foot building at the heart of downtown Schenectady has received its first tenant after undergoing a $2.4 million renovation by Spraragen Partners.
Simone’s Kitchen, a modern take on Mediterranean cuisine, will occupy 2,450 square feet of retail space at 430 Franklin St. across from City Hall. The Schenectady restaurant will be owner Bashir Chedrawee’s second location — the first is in Coxsackie. He will co-own the Schenectady spot with a business partner, Shan Kaurejo.
Brooke Spraragen — who co-owns the property with her brother, Chris — said they met Chedrawee in December at a time when the they were traveling to Coxsackie frequently.
“We found ourselves coming back frequently with containers,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we put someone in the space who was as committed to the community as we are."
At the time, Chedrawee had been looking for a place in the Capital Region to open a second location to no avail until meeting the Spraragens.
“What we were looking for were two things: We're a community-based business and we wanted a close-knit community. Schenectady had that," Chedrawee said. " Number two: We wanted to make sure we were working with the right landlord. We found that with the Spraragens. They were just as passionate as we were about running their business and being community-oriented.”
Chedrawee said being able to format the space to his own specs was also a big upside to the partnership. Chedrawee will have to pay the costs of fitting the space with a kitchen, counters and other essential items he needs for the "resto-cafe fast casual-style" dining he has in mind. "It's a blank slate," he said.
Chedrawee said he's still unable to pin down his prospective budget for construction. He and the Spraragens are awaiting news on funding from the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative before they take their next steps.
“We’re being patient because we’re waiting for money from the state. We can either create something nice or create something great," Chedrawee said. "We’re waiting on the state’s funding to create something we’re truly happy with.”
The two-floor building will have four retail units on the first floor that open onto Jay Street and Franklin Street; and office space on the second floor. The Spraragens said they’re looking for a single tenant to occupy the second floor.
The three unoccupied retail spaces remain on the first floor are available starting at $16 per square foot. The building features energy-efficient heating, air conditioning, lighting systems, plus a new elevator, façade, roof and mechanical systems.
Chedrawee said he expects to move into the space at the end of summer or beginning of fall.
Simone’s is named in honor of Chedrawee’s mother, whose cooking inspired the restaurant’s menu.
The building at 430 Franklin St. is called "The Benjamin" in honor of the Spraragens' great-grandfather, Benjamin Spraragen, who started Schenectady Hardware & Electric in 1923.
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Epps, Glenn. Bizjournals.com, 23 Apr. 2021, www.bizjournals.com/albany/news/2021/04/23/simones-kitchen-schenectady.html.