An endeavor to build a three-story, 60-unit affordable housing residential project on East Main Street in Amsterdam took a step forward on Wednesday as representatives of DePaul Properties Inc and the architectural firm SWBR presented a site plan and initial conceptual drawings to the city planning commission. The proposed project will replace several buildings and properties on East Main Street, Lark Street, and John Street.
Dan J. Glading, senior associate at SWBR said that while the architectural design is still being worked on, he expects the building to look similar to one that DePaul Properties previously constructed in Schenectady and will combine a modern look that also shares some traits with the surrounding buildings built decades ago.
He described the design as “trying to pick up some of the detailing we see across the street with the roof overhands and the brackets, and just simplifying and cleaning them up to acknowledge we don’t quite have that level of craftmanship in our construction trades anymore, and don’t quite have the budgets and funding to do that, but at least want to echo those details, at least a 21st century interpretation of that.”
The building will feature one bedroom, two bedroom, and studio apartments, laundry facilities, a community room, a courtyard behind the building, and a free shuttle service for tenants.
Two residents who live in the area near the proposed project spoke at the meeting. One resident said that he had been hoping to purchase a lot created by the recent demolition of an abandoned home adjacent to his and had been maintaining the property in the hopes of acquiring it. He said he was disappointed to learn that his request to purchase the lot had been rejected by the city as it is one of the parcels required for the project. Another resident expressed concern for how the project will affect parking in the neighborhood.
The developer will seek a variance from the city zoning board that will allow them to build less than the 90 parking spaces required by code. Glading cited past experiences with other buildings operated by DePaul Properties that showed an average usage ratio of .5 to .75 vehicles for every 1 apartment, including staff and visitors. The site plan submitted to the commission calls for 43 parking spaces.
“So we’ve been in jurisdictions where our variances have not been granted, and we have huge swathes of parking lots that are never filled,” said Glading. “So we come to this with a lot of experience and confidence that this is sufficient for the needs of the property and won’t cause a lot of overflow parking.”
Glading said that the developer will be seeking to raise funds by utilizing low-income housing tax credits from New York State, which they hope to learn whether they will be awarded or not by the end of the year. If awarded the credits, construction could start in the summer or fall of 2020, and would be completed approximately a year later.
As the project will be located on a state highway, the Montgomery County Planning Board will have to approve the site plan. Members of the city commission did not vote to approve the site plan, but rather voted unanimously to forward the project to the county board.