Schenectady seeks state funding to redevelop former Mohawk Honda site on State St.

SCHENECTADY — The former Mohawk Honda building on State Street in Schenectady could be converted into a retail space if a county application for state funding proves successful.

A public hearing was held at last week’s Schenectady City Council meeting pertaining to a Restore New York funding application that could provide up to $3 million for the proposed project. Schenectady can apply for up to $3 million in funding from this program designed to help revitalize downtown districts.

The car dealership ceased sales at the site at the end of February, with the staff transferred to Mohawk Honda in Glenville and Mohawk Chevrolet in Malta.

The county has placed an option on the 2.31-acre lot with the goal of recruiting a grocery store to fill the site.

“The site will be vacated by Mohawk Honda so we need to plan for a new use,” said Ray Gillen, chairman of Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority. “The Restore New York funding would be used to demolish the existing 30,000-square-foot building and prep the site for redevelopment. We have not selected a developer at this juncture.”

In round six of the Restore New York funding process, the city secured a $2.3 million state grant earlier this month to renovate the Wedgeway and Kresge buildings on the corner of State Street and Erie Boulevard.

With the seventh round of the Restore NY application process currently underway, Metroplex is seeking a City Council resolution to submit the Mohawk Honda project for state consideration.

“There’s a new round out with $150 million up for competition,” Gillen told the council last week. “We’re asking for your support to move forward with an application related to the former Mohawk Honda site on State Street.”

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said the project would be vital for the city, if it were to move forward.

“It’s the continued development within the city,” he said following the recent council meeting. “It’s another option trying to work with the state where we’ve been very successful in these applications in the other rounds. I’m confident, again, that we’ll get favorable consideration from the state as we go forward on this one.”

With the public hearing now closed, the council could pass a resolution of support for the project at its Jan. 9 meeting, with the resolution needed in time for the grant application to be submitted to Empire State Development by the state deadline on Jan. 27.

“The grant money can also be used for building a new building on the site,” Gillen said. “It’s a critical site for developing the State Street neighborhood and for downtown.”

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