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Schenectady awaiting $10M in state economic development funds

Previous recipients include Albany, which received $2.8 million for streetscape improvements along Clinton Avenue from Broadway to North Hawk Street in 2019 and $2 million to build a six-story, mixed-use building at the corner of Broadway and Livingston, among other projects.

Schenectady’s wish list contains 18 projects, with funding for market-rate apartments dominating the list.

Two of the developers leading downtown rejuvenation efforts are seeking roughly half of the total available funding, about $5.75 million.

Redburn Development Partners applied for $2.75 million to redevelop the three blocks of Clinton Street running from City Hall to Broadway.

The $38.7 million effort is already underway. Construction has begun on a new 67-unit apartment building on the footprint of the former Citizens Bank site, while renovation of the nearby Bank of America and former OTB building are underway.

Highbridge Prime Development, developers of the Electric City Apartments, are seeking $3 million to raze two of their buildings between that complex and the Mill Artisan District and build a five-story mixed-use building with 17 apartments and nearly 300 parking spaces, an $8.2 million effort.

Spraragen Partners is seeking $600,000 for the rehab of a building across from City Hall on Franklin Street.

With the grant potentially covering 25 percent of total costs, the state program is a critical development tool, said co-owner Brooke Spraragen.

“It makes these projects viable,” Spraragen said, noting the two-story structure sat unoccupied for years. “It makes it an easier investment and gives us an opportunity to invest in our city.”

At least one business, Simone’s Kitchen, has already signed on as a tenant.

A formal announcement will allow Spraragen Partners to accelerate construction.

“That will be an exciting time for us to pull the trigger on making purchasing orders and getting tenants ready by fall,” Spraragen said.

Winning projects will be selected, in part, based on how well they can drive additional investment.

Schenectady DRI could leverage at least $128 million in additional spending, officials have said.

Connecting downtown and Mohawk Harbor is another focus of the effort, and the city is seeking funds to reopen the closed stretch of North Jay Street running through Little Italy and alongside Union College’s athletic fields.

Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority put in a request for $750,000 to extend their facade improvement program, which has restored edifices along State Street, to buildings in Little Italy.

Among the projects that were removed from consideration were the Electric City Co-Op food store, a proposed sports and entertainment complex at Mohawk Harbor, and the Capital Region Aquatic Center eyed for the same complex

Projects were selected by a 16-member panel of business, development and academic leaders who cast ballots following an extensive series of meetings and public workshops. But the state Department of State has not yet released details on how those panelists voted and if they recused themselves from potential conflicts of interest.


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