COLONIE — The Planning Board moved ahead Phase III of the old Starlite site development by accepting the concept behind building a 60,344-square-foot, three-story building at the intersection of Columbia Street Extension and the newly constructed Coliseum Drive.
Phases I and II included building a 150,000-square-foot new headquarters for Ayco, a financial management company under the Goldman Sachs umbrella.
The new building would feature a glass wall and include a 2,500-square-foot bank, a 3,000-square-foot, 30-seat restaurant, a 2,000-square-foot retail space and 52,844-square-foot of office space.
The exact dimensions for the commercial spaces, which would occupy the first floor, are still up in the air as no tenants have signed leases as of the Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, the last meeting of 2020. Dan Hershberg, of the engineering firm of Hershberg and Hershberg, who presented the project on behalf of the Galesi Group, said, for example, the restaurant could “steal” some space from the retail should the tenant require more than the 3,000-square-foot.
There is a proposed 273 parking spots, but there was discussion on banking some 40 spots, which would be available if the final square footage and use of the building determines they are warranted. A restaurant, for example, would require a different parking formula than a retail or a bank.
Planning Board member Craig Shamilan recommended the banked spots be along Columbia Street Extension, also known as Johnson Road, to increase greenspace along the thoroughfare. There are pros and cons: any trees planted along the road would screen what was universally seen as a beautiful, unique building with a glass paneled exterior but it would make the streetscape more attractive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people and office space might not be the premium it once was with more and more people working from home.
“You are correct, life is changing in office space, but office space is still needed, maybe a little more boutique than before, and especially in Colonie,” said David Buicko, president and CEO of the Galesi Group, the Schenectady based developer who bought the old Starlite land and build Ayco’s new headquarters. “We are confident we can attract high quality tenants, and this is designed to attract higher end tenants.”
The developer is requesting three waivers: to have the front set back more than 25 feet from the major road, to allow parking in the front yard and to allow shared parking.
Phase III is expected to generate 95 new vehicle trips during the morning peak hour and 105 new vehicle trips during the afternoon peak hour. All phases of the Starlite development will generate 703 and 594 new trips during the morning and afternoon peak hour, respectively. Coliseum Drive bifurcates the site and was built, in part, to alleviate some traffic congestion along Route 9.
The project will need to come back to the board for final site plan approval before construction can start.