BETHLEHEM Despite initial difficulties finding renters, the Kendall Square apartment complex is looking to expand to include retail spaces.
Now that the first stage of construction is over, the 110-apartment complex at the corner of Elsmere Avenue and Feura Bush Road in Glenmont is now hungry for retail expansion in its second phase.
“Retail tenants are easier tenants, and frankly make more money,” said Jim Giacone, the developer on the project with business partner Lee Rosen. Giacone is also the owner of My Place & Co. in Delmar.
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the planning board was updated on the project’s second phase progress, giving it near approval.
Second phase plans call for construction of a 4,500 square foot mixed use residential/commercial buildings placed within the development. The structure will face Elsmere Avenue and will include 3,770 square feet of commercial space, a handicap accessible apartment on the first floor; and four apartments on the second floor.
The plan is approved for 40,000 square feet of retail space, but no plans have been presented for the remaining 35,500 square feet.
Should the team from Kendall Homes come back to the board with provisions for handicap accessibility, the plans should be approved at the next planning board meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 15. Neither commercial building has been constructed thus far.
The retail offerings capitalize on nearby growing plazas, like Glenmont Plaza on Feura Bush Road, where a Moe’s Southwest Grill and Jersey Mike’s Subs are under construction, and a Starbucks is rumored. Giacone, however, said that his buildings will be limited to office spaces.
While planning board Chairman John Smolinsky questioned this, as he thought eateries could be ideal in a residential atmosphere, Giacone felt living above office spaces, rather than eateries, was more desirable.
In 2010, residents nearby the Kendall Homes development in Western Glenmont attained over 400 signatures against the development’s creation, citing increased traffic as their main objection, and arguing that eliminating the former green space there would disrupt the landscape of the town. First phase apartment plans were approved in July of 2010.
In May of 2014, plans for the second phase were approved for the commercial space, then amended in May of 2015 to include expanded retail space and reduced apartment space in the buildings.
“We wanted to get the project going, and this was a way to get it going, so we limited it to the five apartments,” said Peter Barber, the lawyer representing the developers. Barber is also supervisor of the Town of Guilderland.
According to Giacone’s real estate agent, Michael S. Davis of Realty USA, there have been many calls from businesses seeking to use the space. Over 30 leads were reportedly followed, none of which have resulted in rentals thus fur.
In particular, a counseling center and a real estate firm have shown strong interest, while less serious inquiries include a bank, wine bar franchise and a “cake boss style” bakery.
Expansion comes despite reported omissions from developer Jim Giacone that the commercial spaces have not attracted as many renters as he would have hoped for thus-far.
“They’re in a good location, but it takes time,” he has said.
The existing apartments, in contrast to the retail space, are at 95 percent capacity.
Rates begin at $1,260 per month for one-bedroom apartments, with prices escalating to over $2,000 for two to three bedroom townhomes, wifi and cable costs included. These rents, however, seem to be at market value, as similar apartments, such as those at Adams Place in Delmar and The Spinney in Delmar, are priced only slightly lower. Only, Giacone’s apartments would have the added advantage of the nearby retail spaces.
Kendall Square is one of several mixed-use apartment/retails approved in town. The Hamlet of Slingerlands complex on New Scotland Road, like Kendall Square, has also completed apartment construction and plans to move onto retail space construction.
Giacone plans to begin construction of the Kendall Homes vey shortly after receiving approval from the town to “get the project off the ground.”