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Lofty goals: Demand grows for upscale units downtown

Jeremy Jordan and Tara Johnson outside their residence at the corner of Barrett and Union Streets in Schenectady on Thursday.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
Jeremy Jordan and Tara Johnson outside their residence at the corner of Barrett and Union Streets in Schenectady on Thursday.
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It was only about five years ago that building high-end residential space in downtown Schenectady began. In fact, the idea was so new that when the banks tried to determine prices paid for similar units in a similar size, style and location, they couldn’t find any. “The banks were looking for these comparables to underwrite a deal, back when we were doing the first projects for housing downtown,” said Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray ...

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March 30, 2014
12:25 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The most important missing retail element in downtown Schenectady continues to be a supermarket, which would truly allow all kinds of people seeking "luxury" intown living to know they would not have to drive to take care of the basic chore of grocery shopping. That is especially true of non-driving elders or to older drivers in general, who often do not want to drive after dark (which comes very early in the winter) nor when the roads are wet or slippery. Taking a bus to a supermarket is a very poor substitute, as anyone can tell you who has tried to do get more than a bag of groceries home on a bus.
With so many grocery chains coming into this County, Mr. Gillen should be trying harder to convince one to serve downtown Schenectady. And, of course, Mr. Golub might consider doing so as a major contribution to the wellbeing of the City. Even people with "disposable income" rightfully balk at trying to do significant grocery shopping at a convenience store, with their high markups and very limited offerings.
Finally, as someone who was among the young professionals helping to gentrify portions of Washington, D.C. more than 30 years ago, I am surprised that the Maddalones put up at Barrett and Union St. what they consider to be luxury apartments attractive to a more discerning tenant, but gave it such a lackluster (actually, cheap looking) façade. It is also disappointing, but not surprising, that the Planning Commission let them place a large, homely, blank wall facing that important corner of Union Street. Bowing to every demand of every developer is not how a City demonstrates that it is has good taste and is planning to serve the high end of the rental and condo market downtown for the long run.