College to lease gym, offices at former Schenectady YMCA – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY – The last remaining lot will be converted from 13 State St. It still resembles its days when the YMCA will be converted for use by the SUNY Schenectady District.

The old high-ceilinged gymnasium will become a practice, performance and display space for the college’s arts and music programs, and is also expected to host public events. The nearby former YMCA staff offices will be used as faculty and staff offices with a conference room available.

The college announced the plans Tuesday with Norstar Development USA, the company that redeveloped the rest of the YMCA into large apartments, and with the Schenectady Metroplex County Development Authority, which helped drive the sale of the building to Norstar and helped bring the condo project to fruition.

Norstar completed the conversion of most of the 104,000-square-foot building and welcomed tenants to 61 below-market apartments in early 2018.

The building quickly filled up, and today there is a waiting list.

Soon after in 2018, Metroplex announced a tenant for 8% of the building that was awaiting renovation: the gym, fitness center, and offices.

That tenant was SUNY County Schenectady.

But Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said on Tuesday that the college and Norstar were unable to agree on final details, and the two sides suspended talks. The plan fell into oblivion as Buffalo-based Norstar focused on projects elsewhere.

Recently, the college and the developer started negotiating again and came to an agreement.
“SUNY Schenectady is located near 13 State Street, which made renting this wonderful space near college an easy decision,” SUNY Schenectady President Steady Mono said in a press release.

Norstar has so far spent more than $18 million renovating the building. Bonacio Construction of Saratoga Springs will complete the final part at a cost of approximately $600,000. Metroplex will provide a grant of $18,000 for this work.

“We appreciate the incredible work Norstar did on the restoration of 13 State Street,” Gillen said. “We wanted to restore the gym and make it another attraction on Lower State Street. We also appreciate that Norstar provided a below-market rental rate, making the space very affordable for SUNY Schenectady.”

Metroplex is more directly involved in this project than others: It has a long-term lease on an 8,000-square-foot free space in a former YMCA, with rent of about $40,000 a year, and it subleases it to college.

This type of master lease is another tool in the development agency’s toolbox, Gillen said, and in this case, it helped meet requirements for Norstar tax credit applications, adding that it has been used on some other downtown projects.

Norstar hadn’t shipped the Metroplex for four years as the space sat unrejuvenated and vacant.

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