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Vision for Franklin Plaza continues to take shape

Thursday, May 22, 2014
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— The Franklin Plaza building in downtown Schenectady is getting a new look, both inside and out.

James “JT” Pollard is investing more than $700,000 to transform the building at the corner of Lafayette and Franklin streets into a mix of commercial space and four apartments. Leases have already been signed for most of the first floor, including a CrossFit gym that has already opened and a hot yoga and Pilates studio that is slated to open soon. And on Wednesday night, the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority board awarded a $75,000 grant to improve the building’s facade.

“I am investing in Schenectady because I believe in the community and the vision that is in place for the redevelopment of downtown,” said Pollard in a news release. “This project will add to progress being made every day to redevelop and rebuild downtown Schenectady.”

Pollard heads Re4orm Architecture, a Schenectady firm responsible for many of the city’s larger development projects, including Center City, Bow Tie Cinema, the public library expansion and new student housing.

The 10,000-square-foot Franklin Plaza building used to house several auto repair services, Schenectady Yellow Cab, a local Scotts Lawn Service and CertaPro Painters. The city seized it in tax foreclosure in 2012 and sold it to Pollard in early 2013 for $115,000.

Renovations are well under way at the site, which is just two blocks from Proctors and features a view of City Hall. Some light landscape work will be done to the outside, as well.

“We are excited about JT Pollard’s plans for this building,” said Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen. “He is doing a great job with the renovations and this project is going to really improve a key corner downtown.”

In other action Wednesday night:

• The board approved a $450,000 grant for Quirky, an invention company headquartered in New York City that just opened an office in Schenectady. The grant was announced in March.

• The board approved a $1.09 million contract for Callanan Industries to install new curbs, sidewalks, streetscape improvements and pave lower State Street from Erie Boulevard to South Church Street. The Schenectady company submitted the lowest bid for the project.

• The board approved a $434,800 contract with Luizzi Brothers to reconstruct the Franklin/Liberty parking lot downtown and construct a landscaped pedestrian pathway that connects Metroplex parking lots at Broadway and Liberty to Center City and the Proctors block. The paving and construction company submitted the lowest bid on the project.

 
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