City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
SARATOGA SPRINGS — WellNow Urgent Care, which opened an office on South Broadway in January, announced it will begin distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible patients at its Clifton Park, Latham and Saratoga Springs centers, effective immediately.
Appointments are required to receive the vaccine and can be booked online at Clifton Park, Latham and Saratoga Springs. Appointment times will be released as more vaccines become available. For an updated list of vaccine appointments available, go to: www.clockwisemd.com/hospitals/6471/appointments/schedule_visit.
Once an appointment is booked, patients will receive a text confirmation and will be asked to complete e-registration prior to their visit. Vaccines are 100% covered by insurance for those with insurance, and of no cost to those without insurance. Some COVID-19 vaccines require two doses for effectiveness; appointments for the second dose will be made at the time patients receive their first dose. All WellNow centers are staffed by a Provider who can administer care in the unlikely event of a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine.
More than 13,000 Saratoga County residents – approximately 5.8% of the county population - have tested positive overall with COVID-19, approximately 1,650 of those confirmed cases in Saratoga Springs.
As of this week, more than 80,000 Saratoga County residents – 35.5% of all county residents – have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The FDA has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the use of the Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen vaccines, although manufacturer brand may vary by location. Patients must meet New York State eligibility requirements to receive the vaccine and may be asked to present proof of eligibility at the time of their visit. For an updated list of priority groups eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, visit covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs City Council Wednesday night voted to accept the Police Reform and Reinvention plan, in advance of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s April 1 deadline.
Last year, in the wake of the death of George Floyd, Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order requiring each local government in the state adopt a policing reform plan by April 1, 2021, with municipalities not certifying adoption of a plan prior to the deadline subject to having their state aid jeopardized.
Wednesday night, during the 60-minute public comment period, one speaker after another, with few exceptions, raised questions regarding the council’s lack of willingness to fully accept the 50-point plan, as submitted by the ad hoc Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force, in its entirety. The topic of implementing a Civilian Review Board was a major theme.
The city council draft of the plan specifies that the council agrees with the task force recommendation of a Civilian Review Board “in principle,” but stipulates an evaluation process is necessary to determine potential legal, union, Charter and community elements that may impact the ability of its development.
“The Council is not under any type of directive or mandate to accept every single recommendation provided by the (city) task force,” said city attorney Vince DeLeonardis, adding that he had confirmed this directly with the deputy secretary of public safety under Governor Como’s administration.
Of the 50 recommendations, there are two items the city does not have the authority to implement, he said. Those are to divert seized assets, and to ban county, state and federal law enforcement from entering the city if they participate in a DOD program.
Two other recommendations the council identified as requiring further review: the ban of no-knock warrants, and to implement a Civilian Review Board.
“These recommendations have not been rejected, but instead called out for further evaluation...the components of a Civilian Review Board will need to be determined by the City Council, including the purpose, scope and function...further evaluation is required,” DeLeonardis said.
As a next step, the council agreed that an independent advisory committee be created to ensure plan implementation, and that such a committee be established by the mayor by June 1. That advisory committee may further review the issues of no-knock warrants and the development of a Civilian Review Board.
“One of the first priorities of the independent advisory committee will be to review the recommendation for a Civilian Review Board. The scope of authority and responsibilities of such a board must be defined and then considered within the provisions of the City’s Charter before it can be established,” city Mayor Kelly said, in a prepared statement, released just after the conclusion of Wednesday night’s meeting. “As with other boards commissioned by the City, a Civilian Review Board would also be subject to applicable laws, rules, regulations, budget appropriations, collective bargaining and contractual obligations.”
The council approved its updated draft plan 4-1, with Commissioner John Franck casting the lone vote against.
The Downtowner Hotel
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Downtowner Hotel is seeking modifications to an approval from the city Design Review Commission for exterior changes to the existing structure at 413 Broadway. It is anticipated the DRC will review the application at its next meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7.
Additional applications under consideration for the meeting include: an Architectural Review of 18 townhomes – exterior; an Advisory Opinion to City Council regarding the proposed installation of missing link sidewalks located in the right-of-way within the city’s Historic District (project title: Saratoga Springs Missing Sidewalk Links Project), and modifications to an approval for exterior modifications – specifically a south façade porch extension, new east façade porch – at Mouzon House.
• A sketch plan conducted by the LA Group regarding a subdivision at 110-114 Nelson Ave. was submitted to the city Planning Board on behalf of applicant JW Hemmingway LLC, and property owner CRND Properties, of Watervliet.
The sketch plan calls for 2.16 acres to be subdivided into 12 lots. The land, which is currently vacant, sits opposite the Saratoga Race Course on the Nelson Avenue side, and across from Frank Sullivan Place. In addition to the independent lots, the property is also proposed to site a “neighborhood rooming house,” according to plans, that will house three guest suites.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A proposed 21st century development may return the corner where Broadway meets Washington Street to the visual splendor it enjoyed in the 19th century.
A newly proposed application under review by the city’s Land Use Boards calls for the construction of a five-story apartment and hotel structure on Washington Street that would tie in with the neighboring former Rip Van Dam Hotel, and the property of the Adelphi Hotel.
The application, filed by 353 Broadway Acquisitions, calls for the construction of approximately 86 new apartment units – 30 two-bedroom units and 56 one-bedroom units (for a total 116 bedrooms) - as well as 31 one-bedroom hotel rooms. The hotel office will be set in the existing stone house at 23 Washington St.
The corner building which houses a Starbucks Coffee Company store will remain. The existing building adjacent to it at 5 Washington St. will be demolished.
The dimensions of the proposed five-story structure on Washington Street would stand 70 feet in height, 118 feet in width, stretch 273 feet long, and would require a dredged/ excavated area of just over a half-acre.
Plans also call for new street frontage walkways on both Broadway and Washington Street to overall improve the streetscape. Vehicle access will be on Washington Street and a split-level parking layout, on the lower level and ground floor, will include spots for about 100 vehicles.
Earlier proposals approved for a portion of the site but never materially developed in the past have included the construction of a 176-room hotel with a 200-seat banquet hall.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The City Council will host the second of two special meetings regarding proposed police department reforms on Wednesday.
The meeting will be held via zoom at 7 p.m. on March 31 and will include public comment, after which the council is anticipated to vote on the matter, in advance of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s April 1 deadline.
Last year, in the wake of the death of George Floyd, Gov. Cuomo signed an Executive Order requiring each local government in the state to adopt a policing reform plan by April 1, 2021. Municipalities not certifying adoption of a plan prior to the deadline are subject to having their state aid jeopardized.
The first of two special City Council meetings to address police reform was held via zoom on March 23. The near-two-hour meeting, which grew testy at times among some council members, included approximately 40 public speakers, the overwhelming majority of whom urged the council to “adopt and ratify” a 50-point plan submitted to the council by the ad hoc Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force. Among the 50 points are Task Force recommendations that the police department be precluded from initiating no-knock warrants under any circumstance, and that a Civilian Review Board, or CRB, be implemented.
A group of residents gathered on the steps of City Hall earlier this week to call on the council to adopt and ratify the plan and to express that the council be clear in its language by stating specific steps should be outlined for a CRB to be implemented, and not merely as being potentially considered. It was an expression similarly echoed by a great majority of comments made by public commentators during the council meeting that followed: specifically, from “accepts for consideration recommendation,” to “adopts for implementation.”
The city’s most recently updated resolution draft may be viewed on the city’s web site, at: saratoga-springs.org. The March 31 meeting will be broadcast live on the city’s web site. Those interested in making public comments to the council during the meeting must do so via Zoom, and a Zoom registration link is also available on the city web site.
WILTON — Mt. McGregor and Grant Cottage Historic Site are preparing to launch a new vision for the future of the historic site, which would include a series of improvements and some new development.
Potential plans include improved parking access, the expansion of trails, the development of a rustic gazebo and replica train station that once stood at the site, a pavilion that could host more than 100 people, and using a five-acre parcel that was once part of the former Mount McGregor Correctional Facility recreation yard for signature events.
Former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant spent six weeks at the cottage in 1885, completing his final memoirs prior to his death.
“Grant Cottage really started out as a little place in northern Saratoga County where Ulysses S. Grant was invited up to because he had terminal throat cancer,” Grant Cottage President Tim Welch explained, during a presentation to the county Board of Supervisors last week.
“He was invited up because the temperature was so hot in New York City in 1885, his doctors didn’t think he would survive to complete his memoirs. He spent only six weeks in Saratoga County, but he completed his memoirs and Mark Twain published them. He wrote his memoirs because he was dead broke. His son got him into a Ponzi scheme and he lost $200,000 – everything he had – and he had like 89 bucks in his checking account. So, that’s why he wrote his memoirs. Within a year after his death, his wife got a check for $450,000 in royalties from Mark Twain, which today is worth $11 million,” Welch said. “This is part of the story we have to tell as we attempt to expand the footprint of Grant Cottage with the Master Plan the LA Group is helping us put together.”
The expansion would help the site meet a growing interest and entice more visitors to the cottage specifically and the area in general, officials said. Attendance restrictions brought on by the pandemic aside, there have been positive signs of late regarding the site. Last year, the History Channel announced its presentation of a three-part mini-series on U.S. Grant, with the Grant Cottage featured in the docudrama. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, which filmed at the cottage in October 2019, Grant Cottage also was the recipient of a $10,000 donation from DiCaprio. This past January, Grant Cottage was approved as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
Grant Cottage was headed to closure on the 100th anniversary of Grant’s death in 1985 until a group of concerned citizens got together to save it by having a volunteer staff and keeping it open to the public for five months of the year.
The cottage is looking to reopen for the season “in the next several weeks,” Welch said.
MALTA — The Luther Forest Technology Campus may soon be adding to its list of residents.
The campus, which sits in the towns of Malta and Stillwater, has long been home to GlobalFoundries as its sole tenant. Scannell Properties, a privately owned real estate development and investment company, is looking to develop up to five large warehouses consisting of millions of square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space at LFTC, bringing about 2,500 new jobs to the county along with it.
“It would be significant for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is the sheer number of jobs involved. They’re talking about 2,500 jobs, which would absolutely be a game-changer, a generational change in terms of economic activity,“ said Timothy Dunn, councilperson on the Malta Town Board.
GlobalFoundries employs about 3,000 people, but many are of a specialized high-tech variety. Dunn explained that the Scannell project would appear to seek the employ of a more varied skill set and offering jobs that run the gamut from tech and tech-related jobs to light manufacturing and distribution. “I think it would be a huge opportunity for the local work force. The ability to get those jobs to local people is really high I think, and would be a big benefit,” Dunn said.
Before the project can proceed, the towns of Malta and Stillwater would need to allow a mix of uses on the land that Scannell would employ.
The company is based in Indiana and was founded in 1990. Its focus is on build-to-suit and speculative development projects, and cites more than 350 completed development projects with a geographic reach across 44 U.S. states, as well as in Canada, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
“A company like Scannell that’s looking to make a strategic investment based on market demand is exciting. They develop property and work with companies that would have the highest propensity to want to do business in our area based on the marketplace and all of the strategic assets that we have in our region,” said Shelby Schneider, President and CEO of Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. “It’s exciting to see. They develop property for Fortune 100 companies around the country. If they have confidence in the marketplace, they relay that confidence on to Fortune 100 companies.”
Scannell has an option to buy more than 200 acres of land south of the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant, and is in communication with local municipalities regarding the land use changes to the planned development district necessary for the development of the potential project.
A discussion was held among members of the Malta Town Board during its workshop earlier this month and it is anticipated discussions will continue during a full town board meeting on March 29. A town board Action Meeting takes place April 5. It is believed a similar process will be undertaken in Stillwater.
The project has also been forwarded to the Malta Town Planning Board as well as the Saratoga County Planning Board for review. “So, we’ll be anticipating input from both of those entities,” Dunn said. “Once we’ve gone through all these steps it will be up to the town board to make a decision whether to approve or not approve the amendment of the Planned Development District – which is ultimately what precipitated this whole discussion.”
BALLSTON SPA — At its monthly meeting, held March 16, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors approved the adoption of a police reform report presented by its appointed seven-member “Executive Order 203 Compliance Group.”
The group was charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office - including strategies, deployment practices, and policies - and submitting a report of potential recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, as per Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order in 2020.
The group stated the following recommendations:
1. Facilitate and establish an advisory committee to continue to seek public input and community involvement in reviewing policies and procedures utilized by the Sheriff’s Office beyond April 1, 2021.
2. Encourage the Saratoga County Sheriff to take steps necessary to maintain compliance with the New York State Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.
3. Encourage the Saratoga County Sheriff to maintain policies consistent with the model policies as provided by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council.
4. Encourage the Saratoga County Sheriff to study and implement training and programs related to topics such as: diversity and cultural education, and elimination of bias.
5. Recommend that the Saratoga County Sheriff explore the development of a body camera and in-car video program for agency. A draft policy should be submitted to the Public Safety Committee for review and recommendations. Recommend that the Board of Supervisors consider funding the establishment of the Sheriff’s body camera and in-car video program to include equipment, storage, and requisite staff for the review and management of video records.
6. Encourage the Sheriff to consult with the Board of Supervisors and its Public Safety Committee in exploring the feasibility of creation of a Professional Standards position or group within the Sheriff’s Office in lieu of the current ad-hoc method of collecting and investigating complaints, reviewing and updating policy and auditing agency performance.
7. Encourage the Sheriff to amend policies and procedures as needed to facilitate collection of additional demographic data on law enforcement contacts to include data related to race and ethnicity.
8. Facilitate the establishment of a County created and maintained list of resources for the public and county employees to reference in lieu of contacting or deploying law enforcement personnel for certain non-law enforcement incidents.
9. Encourage and Recommend the Sheriff continue to engage and support the inclusion of mental health resources in the daily functions of the Sheriff’s Office to the benefit of both the community and members of law enforcement.
10. Recommend to the Sheriff to examine whether methods exist to use equipment with military appearances where necessary to control public disruption and protect lives, but in a manner that reduces the possibility of instilling fear or apprehension on the part of citizens engaging in legitimate public assembly and speech.
“This is an important step forward for our Sheriff’s Office and our County,” said Theodore Kusnierz, Chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. “We wanted to find updated approaches to policing in Saratoga County to ensure that our officers could do their jobs as effectively as possible while also making sure that our entire community feels safe and protected, and I believe this report and its recommendations will help us do that.”
Saratoga Springs City Supervisor Tara Gaston cast the lone vote against. While she said she favored the recommendations, Supervisor Gaston expressed concern that some of the recommendations – those instituting the use of body cameras and in-car videos, among them – lacked more urgent language that would see those recommendations implemented. “I’d like to see this not as a possibility to explore, but as a plan to be developed,” Gaston said.
The county Compliance Group reported that from 2016 through 2019, there were between 11 and 22 use of force reports per year. None involved the discharge of a firearm. Over that four-year period, 25 civilian complaints were received, 11 of them sustained. One complaint alleged excessive force, and one complaint alleged bias. Neither allegation was sustained.
Regarding last summer’s event in Saratoga Springs that involved a planned “Back the Blue” rally and a counter-protest by the groups “BLM” and “All of Us,” the Compliance Group said that while it had conducted no structured fact-finding hearing regarding the July 30 event, it did not identify any specific instance of misconduct on the part of any Sheriff’s Department employee.
“Nevertheless, many comments were made concerning the use of the MRAP and the “militarization” of police departments in general,” reads the group’s report. “Accordingly, the Compliance Group believes that the Sheriff should examine whether methods exist to use equipment with military appearances where necessary to control public disruption and protect lives, but in a manner that reduces the possibility of instilling fear or apprehension on the part of citizens engaging in legitimate public assembly and speech.”
Members of the Saratoga County Executive Order 203 Compliance Group are: Dr. Michael Prezioso, Director of the Saratoga County Mental Health Clinic, Chairman Undersheriff Richard Castle, Vice Chairman Darren O’Connor – Supervisor – Town of Malta Thomas Richardson – Supervisor – City of Mechanicville Opal Hinds – Community Member Karen Heggen – Saratoga County District Attorney Andrew Blumenberg - Saratoga County Public Defender.
The 30-page report may be found at: www.saratogacountyny.
County & City Police Reforms
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city is targeting an April 1 deadline to comply with an Executive Order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo stating that municipalities across the state adopt local plans for police department reform. Two special meetings of the City Council – to take place March 23 and March 31 - have been scheduled to review and approve recommendations for Saratoga Springs police reform.
Last June, in the aftermath of the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota and subsequent protests across the nation demanding change and accountability among the law enforcement community, Cuomo directed a comprehensive review of existing police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices be conducted, and plans for reform adopted by local municipalities by April 1, 2021 to be eligible for future state funding.
Last week, the results of a survey used by them to assist in finalizing their recommendations to the Saratoga Springs City Council was posted online. The 97-page report may be read at: saratoga-springs.org.
On March 5, the 13-member Saratoga Springs Police Task Force released its 108-page report: Reinvention Plan: Toward a Community Centered Justice Initiative.
“It contains more than 50 recommendations intended to improve the policies and practices of the Saratoga Springs police Department,” city attorney Vincent DeLeonardis explained to the council during its meeting on March 16. “It is now up to the Council to review and deliberate on the proposed recommendations and determine which of those recommendations will be implemented – and how.”
A draft of the report may be viewed on the city website at: saratoga-springs.org.
“This is a big first step that we’re taking here, but it has to go on. We can’t possibly reform everything in seven months,” city Mayor Meg Kelly said, regarding the amount of time which the Task Force was granted to conduct their review – in between the time of Gov. Cuomo’s order and the city’ s adoption deadline.
“We have to have a plan moving forward and I think that’s what we’re doing with this resolution. We’re going to continue working with the Commissioner of Public Safety (Robin Dalton) and working with the chiefs to continue on the reform,” she said. “We have to submit something April 1 and then we can continue to work through all these changes. Police reform has to continue after April 1, it doesn’t end.”
Two special meetings of the City Council were scheduled to specifically review the task force recommendations for police reform. Those meetings will take place 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 23 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 31. The meetings will be live streamed via Zoom and on the city’s website, and public comment will be allowed at both meetings.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Public Safety Department is comprised of a full-time administrative office staff, a Police Department, Fire Department, Code Enforcement Division, Central Dispatch, Traffic Maintenance, Animal Control Officers and a Health Officer. There are approximately 161 full-time and 11 part-time employees. The part-time employees work as school crossing guards, vehicle traffic controllers, part time cleaners, part time clerk and summer laborers at the traffic garage.
• The Fire Department operates out of two fire stations and serves the City of Saratoga Springs, which encompasses 29.07 square miles of residential, commercial, and agricultural properties and parks.
• Fire Department 2020: The Saratoga Springs Fire Department responded to 4868 calls for service, which represents a 7.38% decrease overall from 2019. Specifically, there were 85 calls for service regarding fires – the highest number of fire responses since 2017.
• Ambulance 2020: 3,454 Emergency medical calls, a daily average of 9.46, and 2,269 transports.
• The Police department currently employs 72 sworn law enforcement officers. Over the past five years, averaged approximately 30,500 calls for service, 1,290 arrests, and 28.33 incidents involving uses of force per year.
• Police Department 2020: 30,880 calls for service. The Investigations Unit assisted in 39 missing person cases in 2020, and officers deployed Narcan on 16 separate calls for service.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — One year after battening down the hatches in response to the oncoming 2020 pandemic, area performance venues are starting to piece together their plans for reopening.
“The one-year anniversary of shuttering the venue, with no clear end in sight - but then came the sudden news that performing arts venues in New York State are allowed to re-open at 33% capacity on April 2,” said Caffè Lena Executive Director Sarah Craig, in a posting on the venue’s website. “It means we can stop treading water and we can start swimming toward a goal.”
The café plan is to reopen April 2 with safety protocols in place. While guidance would allow 35 people at the venue, the capacity will be limited to an audience of 24.
“We won’t serve food and drink yet. That means masks can (must) stay on from entry to exit,” Craig said. “We’re getting the air filter systems that we didn’t think we’d need ’til September. Even so, we’ll keep the windows open a little. Wear a sweater.”
Caffè Lena first opened in May 1960 as a small beatnik coffeehouse, Bob Dylan first visited the club in 1961 and played a full weekend of shows for which he was paid a total of $50. Appearances by Rosalie Sorrels brought admirers like Hunter S. Thompson and William Kennedy to the venue, and in the fall of 1965, Don McLean made his first of his many appearances at the café.
In the 12 months since everything shut down, the café counts 209 livestreams it had broadcast and $100,000 raised for musicians.
In the meantime, Lenas continues to broadcast a slew of productions via its online platforms. For more information, go to: caffelena.org.
“We’re at the beginning of the end,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, during his March 9 presser. “The end is the vaccine. The vaccine is the weapon that wins the war. It’s going to still be an annoying few months, but we’re getting there.”
Plans are also underway at the 700-seat theater-in-the-round space at Universal Preservation Hall (UPH).
“We will open the hall in July for the School of the Performing Arts for Kids – a rock music camp for middle-schoolers, and our goal is to become an exhibit hall in the summer,” says Teddy Foster, campaign director at UPH.
“I don’t know what April will bring, so right now we are holding tight, but we will be doing another exhibit this summer – which was our plan all along, to become an exhibit hall in the summer and put on really cool, family-friendly exhibits which will also help draw people downtown.”
Last year’s interactive summerlong exhibition featured music-themed pinball machines and memorabilia from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame that featured artifacts used by everyone from Dolly Parton to Alice Cooper.
“Even in the middle of the pandemic last summer our pinball exhibit brought in 2,000 people,” Foster says. In “normal” times, UPH anticipates it will serve an estimated 65,000 visitors per year, with a $3.5 million annual economic impact as a year-round venue space, according to a statement issued in 2018,
The building was erected in 1871 and served as a Methodist church for its first 100 years, as well as playing a role in the city’s civic life by providing a venue for visiting statesmen including Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan and Frederick Douglass. But by the 1960s, it had fallen on hard times. Local preservationists organized a nonprofit group and helped save the structure. More recently, Foster oversaw an operating alliance created with Proctors, and a $13.5 million renovation project that followed was celebrated with a fabulous opening night performance featuring Rosanne Cash last Feb. 29 to re-christen the grand hall.
This coming summer’s exhibition, which Foster didn’t identify by name, is currently being negotiated and anticipated to open in late July for a display that will be active for a number of months. When the venue does reopen to the public, everything will be staged in a safe manner, Foster says. “One of the things that makes UPH so safe to be in is we have an extremely high-tech HVAC system and we clean like maniacs, so people will be able to come into our building with confidence because it’s safe.”
For more information about UPH, go to universalpreservationhall.org.
VICTORY — A once-burgeoning mill a top a historic landscape has been targeted for a large-scale residential reuse that could transform this small Saratoga County village located on the north bank of Fish Creek.
The village of Victory, located in the town of Saratoga, counts approximately 600 residents and borders the village of Schuylerville. It played an important role during the era of the Battle of Saratoga in the 1770s and a century later served as the home of the Victory Manufacturing Company – employer of several hundred people. After hitting its peak in the 1870s, an economic downturn in the early 20th century forced the company known for creating high quality cotton goods to begin laying off employees.
The mill – built in the early 20th century and standing just north of the site of the original 1846 plant – was last occupied in 2000. This week, the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency approved $41.9 million in tax incentives over a 30-year period in connection with a plan that calls for the redevelopment of the mill to house 186 apartments.
The 186 apartments atop the 6.6-acre property would include 127 one-bedroom and 59 two-bedroom apartments with rents anticipated to range from $800 to $1,300 per month, says Larry Regan, president of Regan Development Corporation.
The anticipated residents filling the apartments of the converted five-story building Regan says, “commuting professionals looking for a place that is not in a downtown city, who want more of a suburban location in a cool retro-fitted building, and who want a large, good-price-point affordable apartment.”
Regan Development has been involved in quality developments and revitalization throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for a generation, most recently a complex that combines 72 workforce rental apartments at the mixed-use five-story Swinburne Building in Albany.
“This would not only be a boon to the community for the residential, but we’re looking to do a brew pub with a group that would have their brewery operations in the back on the lower section, with a patio that faces the Fish Creek. That section is very picturesque. We’re also looking to build an amphitheater for outdoor concerts in the warmer weather,” Regan said.
“We worked very hard to come up with something that’s not just a residential use, but a mixed-use to try and synergize economic redevelopment and revitalization of the building and the village. We want to make this right, not only as a residential spot but as a destination for people to come and enjoy.”
Following the departure of the building's last tenant in 2000, its assessed value fell from $3.7 million to about $650,000. A Malta resident purchased the lot in 2003 with designs of renovating it for mixed-use space, but nearly $460,000 in unpaid taxes were accrued before the project could get started. Harmony Group Capital, led by developer Uri Kaufman, subsequently secured the Victory building, and the sale to move forward with the Regan Development project may come as early as June. Regan says approvals have been secured from the local Planning Board and Saratoga County IDA, and village building permits have been filed.
“Timewise, right now, things are in a state of flux because of the state budget - we’re using a fair amount of state resources here - and because of COVID; costs for things like lumber and metal have gone up substantially, so we’re sort of waiting in a queue and hoping things can move forward for a potential June closing,” he said. “If not June, then we’re hopeful for a year-end closing. So, this is going to happen. Everything is in place.”
Construction would start as soon as a scheduled closing date is secured. The construction process is anticipated to take about two years, Regan said.
“We’re very pleased with the relationship we have with the village, with the town, with the county and with the state. Everybody’s coming together to make this happen. It’s just a matter of waiting COVID out - and then hit the ground running.”