By Susan E. Campbell
Saratoga Springs is reinvesting in the community by making $150,000 available to three different housing and restoration projects in the city, according to Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan.
“We were at the high end of our fund balance and several economic development projects had come forward,” she said. “The City Council decided to break the reserves into three equal funding grants of $50,000 each.”
The recipients of the grants are the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority, the developers of a mixed use project on South Broadway, and renovation of the historic Universal Preservation Hall.
Receipt of these funds is contingent on each recipient obtaining grants or tax incentives from the state to move forward on the respective projects.
“We have the unique opportunity to increase the likelihood that multiple-million-dollar projects occur within the city with only a modest contribution [from the city],” said Madigan.
Saratoga Housing will construct a new workforce housing project behind Stonequist Apartments on South Federal Street.
The South Broadway project is the three-acre site of the former Saratoga Diner. It will include housing for veterans, affordable workforce housing, retail space and possibly a restaurant. Approximately 10,000 square feet of office space will be dedicated to business incubation, Madigan said.
A business incubator brings together start-ups and existing businesses to share space and resources. The city council plans to consider a PILOT [Payment In Lieu Of Taxes] economic development program for this $30 million project led by KCG Development and partnered with Saratoga-based DEW Ventures.
Universal Preservation Hall at 25 Washington St. started a $6.5 million renovation that will enable larger-scale productions starting in 2019.
“Proctors in Schenectady is the managing agent for UPH,” Madigan said. “It is a beautiful facility, not on the immense scale of Proctors, but this is a very good partnership that will bring quality programming into Saratoga.”
The council recently approved an application for Restore NY funding for the UPH renovation.
Restoration plans are extensive, including an elevator, kitchen, redesigned lobby area, and updated heating and air conditioning systems.
Also planned is $500,000 worth of acoustic and sound equipment, plus a second floor performance space seating 700 people.
“It is time for Saratoga Springs to be involved in contributing to the local arts, education, housing and environment,” said Madigan. “A high fund balance gave us this unique opportunity.”
All funds for the housing and economic development project assignments come from sales tax, occupancy tax and all the major income sources, said Madigan.