GUILDERLAND — Pyramid Companies’ ever-expanding reach is garnering more approval from locals.
The Capital Region Chamber and Guilderland Chamber of Commerce issued a joint statement favoring the shopping mall conglomerate’s plans to build a 160,000 square foot Costco store. The two also favored plans that will initially promise a 222-unit apartment and townhouse development.
“On behalf of the business community in Guilderland and the Capital Region, we wholeheartedly support the development project that will bring the region’s first Costco and mixed-use development to Guilderland,” the two chambers said in a statement released Wednesday, Aug. 26. “At a time when the economy is challenged, we applaud the Town of Guilderland and its Planning Board for reviewing and approving these projects over the past year. Upon opening, the development will generate significant tax revenue, hundreds of jobs and new property tax revenue. Crossgates is an economic engine for our region and this will help make it stronger.”
The town’s planning board approved Pyramid’s State Environmental Quality Review Findings Statement last month, providing the opportunity to progress through Town Hall.
The store is set to take up around 160,000 square feet on a 16-acre parcel of land with several fuel pumps and 700 parking spaces. According to the town’s website, the site currently contains 13 vacant homes which were bought by the Pyramid Companies, a real estate company that also owns the nearby Crossgates Mall, within the last 15 years. There, however, is one property still occupied by a homeowner on the proposed site.
The Costco store is set to be a part of Guilderland’s Transit-Oriented District, a designated area that hopes to promote more pedestrian linkages and public transit. Along with Crossgates Mall, Costco is proposed to be accompanied by a nearby 222-unit apartment and townhome development combined with 3,900 square feet of commercial space on 19.7 acres; and a 11.3-acre site that may one day be home to 115,000 square feet of retail, 50,000 square feet of office space and 48 apartments.
Both the Costco plan and the housing development are separate plans. Both still need the town’s approval before breaking ground. The threat of developing along the Rapp Road corridor has been met with opposition. It’s proximity to the Pine Bush Preserve has also voiced concerns over its impact on the environment.
The neighboring Rapp Road community is a quiet 14-acre residential neighborhood and its origins date back to the Great Migration in the early 1930s, a period where six million African-Americans left the South for urban areas in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Rapp Road eventually became one such destination and at its peak, 23 families lived on the road in the 1950s; over a dozen still do today.
Beverly Bardequez, the president of the Rapp Road Historical Association, told The Spotlight in January that her main concern is the traffic impact.
“Even now, we are inundated with too much traffic and people have a tendency to cut through Rapp Road, where the historic district is, to go to Crossgates or Western Avenue,” she said. “People don’t respect the speed limit and they come flying down here like a main thoroughfare. This road is not built to handle that volume of traffic.”
This article includes previous reporting from Diego Cagara