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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Grocery Store on State Street in Schenectady Making Progress

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Exciting ‌developments are underway in Schenectady, with‍ plans to build a ‍full-service grocery store on a 2-acre plot​ between Albany and State streets, previously occupied by a ‍car sales lot, steadily moving ⁤forward.

Lawmakers ‌in Schenectady County​ are gearing ⁢up to transfer the ownership of 754 State St. to the Capital Region Land ​Bank. ⁢This organization will‌ supervise the redevelopment of the property, which is conveniently located on the outskirts of downtown and ‍adjacent to ⁣the Hamilton Hill and Vale neighborhoods. The property was formerly the Mohawk Auto Center, a used car lot ⁢that ceased ​operations in February⁢ 2022.

The⁣ county’s Committee on ‍Economic⁤ Development &⁣ Planning gave ​their approval for the transfer on​ Monday. The full Legislature is​ anticipated to give the final green light to the ⁣plan next Tuesday.

Ray Gillen, the chair of the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority, ​informed lawmakers‌ that the‌ redevelopment ​project is now ⁣entering a “critical phase.”

“Our vision is to create housing and retail spaces on⁢ this site, with ‍a​ particular focus on a full-service grocery store that would cater to both downtown and⁢ the ⁣Hamilton Hill and Vale neighborhoods, as well as the wider community,” ⁣he‍ stated. “We are making ⁢significant strides towards realizing these objectives.”

The redevelopment plans for the property were initiated ‍in September 2022, when​ county lawmakers approved⁢ the use of $10,000⁢ in American Rescue⁢ Plan Act funds to secure the ⁢right to purchase the 2.13-acre parcel for a year and a‍ half ⁤at a cost of $950,000. This was done⁤ to evaluate the property. An additional $3 million in ARPA funding was also⁢ earmarked to aid in the development of a⁣ grocery store.

The county proceeded with the purchase earlier this year.

The⁤ redevelopment initiative has also benefited from a ​$2.75 million Restore NY grant,‌ which​ Gillen stated will be⁤ utilized to demolish the existing building on the property and prepare the site⁣ for future development. There are also⁢ plans to leverage the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation ​Brownfield Cleanup Program, which offers additional funding opportunities.

Gillen‌ highlighted the ⁣past successes that Metroplex and ⁣the county’s economic development team have had⁣ with redeveloping⁤ brownfield properties, including the former headquarters ⁣of the American Locomotive Co., ​the once⁤ abandoned property along Erie⁣ Boulevard that is now home to Mohawk Harbor.

“We’re going to replicate our ‍successful brownfield clean-up efforts at the former Mohawk Auto Center on State Street,” Gillen said. “We take great pride⁢ in our brownfield clean-up initiatives ⁢in this county.”

This ⁢is not the only development project in progress in the area.

Last year, Metroplex announced ⁤plans to invest $550,000 to demolish seven vacant ​buildings along ⁢Albany Street ​to make‍ way for future housing. These Albany Street properties, which⁢ have a long history of code⁣ violations, are located near the former car ​dealership.

Efforts to introduce an‍ additional grocery store to the Electric City have been a long-standing priority for lawmakers and local advocacy ‌groups. They aim to improve access ⁢to fresh, ⁤healthy food⁣ in an area where options are limited and transportation can be challenging.

The city, which has a population of ‌over⁣ 65,000, currently has only two grocery stores: Market 32 ⁣on Eastern Parkway and Price Rite Marketplace in Crosstown Plaza,⁣ near​ the Rotterdam border. An Aldi ‌grocery store located in the Woodlawn neighborhood‌ relocated to​ the Five Corners intersection‌ in Rotterdam.

Last year, ShopRite​ announced plans to close its five Capital Region locations, including its Niskayuna storefront. This sparked‍ concerns among community leaders, who were worried about the loss of another local grocery store. However, it has since been announced that Price Chopper/Market 32 purchased the sites, with plans to reopen the stores.

Establishing a grocery store at ⁣the ⁣former Mohawk Auto site is‌ not the only local initiative to address ⁣food access.

The Electric City Community Grocery — previously known as the Electric City Food Co-Op — is ⁣developing‍ plans to construct a storefront location along lower Erie Boulevard.‌ This area provides easy access to the⁤ Interstate 890 exchange and is close to‌ a transit hub ⁢just a few⁣ blocks away on lower State Street.

Schenectady County has also committed $3 million in ARPA⁢ funding for this‍ project, and​ the Schenectady City Council has allocated $1 million of its own​ ARPA funds towards the project.

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Emily Stanton
Emily Stanton
Emily Stanton, a skillful journalist previously based in Boston, is adept at covering a diverse array of stories. Her thorough and engaging reporting style, honed with a Master's in Journalism from Boston University, focuses on community-relevant stories.
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1 COMMENT

  1. Grocery Store on State Street in Schenectady Making Progress – I disagree, the store still has a long way to go before it’s up to par with others in the area.

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