Council sets aside five foreclosed properties for possible AIDA projects


John Duchessi, director of the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency, asked council members on Tuesday to consider removing four properties on the west end of the city and one on Main Street from the list of foreclosed properties to be sold at the upcoming city auction on October 25.

The west end properties include 36, 46, and 52 Carmichael Street, all of which are owned by either Dudka’s Garage or Gary Dudka, and 399 West Main Street, which used to be the Harry F. Bowler Brewery. Duchessi envisions these four properties as part of a “west end gateway” project. At the meeting, he said that AIDA will pay for the cost of phase I environmental site assessment studies on the properties.

“First we have to establish some baselines, find out what the issues are with the properties, and then we would go from there,” said Duchessi.

Duchessi said he envisions a mixed-use commercial and residential development at 20-22 Main Street, similar to projects AIDA has already had success with on the same street. The agency currently owns and rents 44-46 Main Street, which has residential apartments on the upper floors, and two commercial tenants on the first floor, Our Picnic Basket restaurant, and The Geek Pantology computer service and repair shop. The agency is also in the process of working with Cranesville Properties to develop 24-26 and 30-32 Main Street. The project follows a similar pattern with apartments on the upper floors and commercial space on the bottom. Capital Off Track Betting opened last week in one of the spaces.

Duchessi said that AIDA will pay for a professional engineer to conduct a structural condition assessment of the property. He also mentioned the property is one of the high priority projects listed in the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant application.

“What we’re looking for here is just to find out really where we’re at right now with these properties and then what is required to rehabilitate them. And then we would match them up with grant funding,” said Duchessi.

Council members agreed by consensus during the committee meeting on Tuesday to ask Controller Matt Agresta to remove the properties from the list being sent to Collar City Auctions who will conduct the auction.

Duchessi said after the meeting that transfer of ownership of the properties from the city to AIDA, which would require formal authorization from the council, was not necessarily a requirement for the agency to proceed after the initial studies are complete, but he sees it as a likely possibility.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.