Alco site plan tries quick development scheme

07-09-2010

Alco site plan tries quick development scheme

The Daily Gazette

The Galesi Group is using an unusual strategy to fast track the clean up and redevelopment of the former American Locomotive Company site on Erie Boulevard, according to an application it filed with the state.

The strategy is to parcel out the 57 acre sit into three projects, and to start the first project within a month of state approval of Galesi’s application for tax credits under the Brownfield Cleanup Program.

“The developer worked out a sequence of development, starting from Front Street and going towards Freeman’s Bridge. The phasing allows the developer to obtain credits when each parcel is complete,” said Ray Gillen, chairman of the Metroplex Development Authority.

Metroplex retains site control over the former Nott Street Industrial Park, Galesi purchased the park for $500,000 through a subsidiary called Maxon Alco Holdings, according to a deed filed with the Schenectady County clerk.

The Galesi application states investigative work could begin within a month of the state’s approval of the remedial plan and be completed within six months. Galesi proposes to study the extent of contamination on the parcel in order to remove problems under the Brownfield Cleanup Program.

Gillen said the staging is important because it allows the developer to collect brownfield tax credits as each state is completed because the state only provides credits once investment is made in a project.

The credits cover remediation, demolition, excavation, fencing, security and other capital costs to make the site usable for redevelopment, including on-site groundwater cleanup.

Over time, the site will be converted into a riverside development containing 500 one-to four bedroom apartments and 450,000 square feet of office space. Space is also being allotted for research and development companies.

Galesi divided the 57 acre site into three parcels—A, B and C—of roughly equal size in acreage and submitted an application, called a “Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan,” for each parcel to the state Department of Environmental Conservation on each application through August 14.

Parcel A runs along the Mohawk River. It measures 21 acres and contains seven large and mid-size buildings. Some of these buildings could be demolished as part of the parcel’s redevelopment, according to Galesi’s application.

Parcels B and C contain 17.2 acres and 19.3 acres, respectively.

Preliminary studies have shown the 57 acre site contains petroleum products, oils and lubricants, various heavy metals used in industrial processes and chlorinated solvents. The material has affected the water table and soil and has migrated toward the Mohawk River.

Gillen said he is optimistic the state will approve Galesi’s brownfield applications, as the team that prepared them is the same one that got the former Big N site in the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. The site on Nott Street is now home to the GOlub Corporation Headquarters.

“The same team that successfully worked on the Big N site has moved across the street,” Gillen said. The Big N site was once part of a sprawling Alco campus.

The Golub Project, which involved the removal of 10,000 tons of contaminated soil, is considered one of the most successful brownfield programs in the state, and “everyone is looking forward to next step, the main site,” Gillen said.