State to renovate Harriman campus building
$47 million project planned to house 1,400 employees
ALBANY After nearly a decade vacant, Building 5 on the Harriman State Office Campus will soon get a $47 million makeover and will house roughly 1,400 state employees by 2015.
State officials announced a plan to gut the long-dormant, seven-story structure near the center of the sprawling 330-acre campus so that it can be used to house the Office of General Services’ Business Services Center. The move will bring workers from around the Capital Region to the 237,000-square-foot building, which has remained empty since the state Department of Transportation moved out in 2004.
“The Business Services Center continues to grow, and by the time this project is completed will provide human resource and finance transactions for more than 60 agencies in one location under a single management structure,” OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said in a statement released Thursday.
State officials believe renovating the building to be the most cost-effective plan to bring the new branch of OGS under one roof. Using Building 5 instead of leasing space elsewhere will save taxpayers roughly $17 million over the next 10 years, according to estimates provided by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
State officials estimate they could save upwards of $81 million over 20 years once the building is completed. This money would be saved through not having to lease thousands of square feet of office space rented throughout the region.
“The decision to move the OGS Business Service Center to the Harriman Campus will not only save taxpayer money and create construction jobs, but will maximize proficiency and reliability of the broad range of services that OGS offers,” Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy said.
Earlier this year, OGS sought bids to lease space for the workers. But the lowest bid returned was for roughly $87 million over 10 years for a building that was 325,000 square feet — about 100,000 square feet more than was needed for the office.
By renovating Building 5, the state will create about 100 construction jobs, according to estimates provided by Cuomo’s office. In addition, the massive overhaul will have an estimated $44 million impact in the local economy.
Asbestos abatement is expected to get under way shortly at the building, which is located near the $40 million laboratory facility recently completed for the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. State officials estimate a full retrofit of the circa-1963 building will take about 18 months. It was largely outdated when DOT moved out nine years ago.
“It’s going to require a lot of work, but obviously it’s a lot less expensive than leasing,” said Heather Groll, a spokeswoman for OGS.
The vastly underutilized Harriman campus has been the subject of redevelopment plans for years. An ambitious plan forwarded by Columbia Development Companies and BBL Construction Services in 2010 suggested building residential and student housing, a 120-room hospitality center and more than 700,000 square feet of research space.
The plan hasn’t yet come to fruition. But state officials indicated the plans for Building 5 unveiled Thursday shouldn’t have an impact on the long-term redevelopment efforts at the campus.