Proposed warehouse upgrade on Edison Avenue in Schenectady – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY – An unused and deteriorated warehouse on Edison Avenue would be demolished and replaced with a modern warehouse under a proposal submitted to the Schenectady Planning Commission.

The developer who submitted the plan said this type of building is rare, but the current structure on site is outdated and in poor condition.

“We will be removing it and we have a new 10,000 square foot high-rise warehouse with loading docks,” said John Roth, CEO of Highbridge Development.

“This type of building is in high demand at the moment. We will be building it to specification in hopes of having a tenant before we finish it.

The owner of the site is 133 Edison Ave. LLC, an entity of Highbridge Development. The Planning Commission will consider granting site plan approval for the new warehouse on Wednesday.

The existing structure was eligible for foreclosure, but the city did not take this action for fear that it would then be responsible for the cost of demolition and any necessary environmental cleanup.

Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen called it the business equivalent of a zombie home, properties that sit vacant and deteriorate when financially-troubled owners abandon them and lenders fail to seize or do not maintain the property.

Metroplex paid for a Phase I environmental study, then the Capital Region Land Bank (which is staffed and operated by Metroplex) was granted an option to continue with the environmental review and pay the city $1 to take the site title. State law provides some liability protection to property banks, thereby reducing the financial risk of repossession.

The property is valued at $188,000. The Land Bank gave it to the LLC in exchange for the LLC carrying out the environmental study, including the drilling; pay for cleaning, asbestos removal and demolition; and commit to building a replacement structure within 24 months.

The new building would be about half the size of the existing building. Loading docks would be in front of the building, which sits on deep but very narrow ground between a railroad embankment and a stream.

It’s a good fit for the site, Gillen said.

“The industrial warehouse market in the Capital Region, according to the latest CBRE survey, the vacancy rate is 2%,” he said. It’s a great location almost at the foot of the Interstate 890 ramp, Gillen said, adding, “It’s used to filling space.”

Highbridge has several other commercial spaces in the immediate vicinity, including two warehouses on Edison. The development company’s headquarters is just around the corner on Broadway.

Roth said Highbridge, alone or in partnership, has several other projects underway or underway, including a 24-unit Phase II addition to Electric City Apartments on Lower State Street in Schenectady.

These include sites near Saratoga Springs, Binghamton, and Nashville, as well as two right in downtown Schenectady: the block of buildings on State Street that previously housed Rudnick’s, the Chamber of Commerce, and New Choices, and the stretch of vacant land along Erie Boulevard that once included the Sears Roebuck store and Paragon Restaurant.

Some are in the active planning phase while others, including the two downtown ones, are only in the discussion phase.

Between its trade restrictions, bid price hikes, material shortages and labor limitations, the pandemic has set back everything in motion, Roth said.

“The projects we are working on right now, these are all projects we started working on before COVID. When COVID hit, it slowed everything down,” he said.

“It looks like we’ve turned the corner now. Let’s hope everything continues in this direction.

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Margie D. Carlisle