DOT moving out of Schenectady regional headquarters
Updated 6:29 p.m.
SCHENECTADY DOT is emptying out its regional headquarters building in downtown Schenectady, once a cornerstone in the city’s economic redevelopment.
Workers were informed this afternoon that they would be moving from their current home at 328 Broadway to statewide DOT headquarters at 50 Wolf Road in Colonie. The move is being made because it will save the agency about $1.4 million a year in rent and utility costs, according to DOT spokeswoman Jennifer Post.
Post said the move will affect slightly fewer than 200 workers and would have no impact on services. She also said the move was not related to a proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reduce the number of DOT regions from 11 to 6.
Post said the agency is still developing plans for the move, and she did not know if it would be done gradually or all at once.
"No specific date has been set, but we're anticipating it will be late March," she said.
The move was not welcomed by some DOT employees, who spoke anonymously this afternoon because DOT did not grant them permission to speak to the media.
“Wolf Road isn’t a downtown,” one worker said. “There’s a lot of people who come out of the building and go places here. Going up the street to Subway or Nico’s, I don’t see that happening [on Wolf Road].”
And, he added, he was one of the many workers moved here to help build up Schenectady’s economy.
“Schenectady’s come a long ways. It’s a shame the state’s pulling the plug on it,” he said.
Other workers said the same thing.
“I don’t think it’s good for Schenectady. We moved here for the community,” one worker said.
Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen said he hopes the building won’t be empty for long. According to the state Office of General Services, the state has a lease-to-own arrangement on the building and has been paying on it for a decade. In essence, the state has been paying down a mortgage, and Gillen thinks the state will try to keep the building by moving another agency in from rental space.
“More than the hope, the expectation,” Gillen said. “If they’re true to the restacking concept, this will be followed by another agency moving in here.”
State Sen. Hugh Farley, who said he was instrumental in bringing the DOT to the Schenectady building, lamented the decision to move. He vowed to contact both Gov. Cuomo and OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito to make sure the building does not remain empty.
"That's a real body blow," Farley said. "I want to see another agency move in there as fast as possible. Everybody who works there loves it. They go against the traffic and have good parking."
OGS officials said there was significant amounts of vacant space in both buildings, so the consolidation makes sense financially. But that won’t satisfy DOT workers, who complained they will now be forced to deal with the difficult commute down Wolf Road. The popular commercial strip is often busy and sometimes gridlocked, particularly around Christmas.
And they’ll have to share their regional management offices with state headquarters.
“There will be some loss of autonomy now that we’ll be in the same building rather than being off-site,” one worker said. “The decision-makers will have an opportunity to be second-guessed a little quicker.”