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Schenectady Officials Tout New Housing Development In Eastern Ave. Neighborhood

The Elmer Avenue School
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
The Elmer Avenue School building.

If you’re looking for a new home, Mayor Gary McCarthy says buyers should check out Schenectady’s Eastern Avenue neighborhood.

Speaking along Elmer Avenue, McCarthy, a Democrat, says there are several recently completed and ongoing revitalization initiatives along a half-mile stretch of the Eastern Avenue corridor.

"It's really an example of the things that are happening across Schenectady. We're seeing stuff up in the north end, seeing things continuing downtown Hamilton Hill, doing stuff on Crane Street. This area just down the street, there's the $19 million Renaissance Square redevelopment of the vacant St. Mary's school, it's going to be 55 new affordable units of housing. There are over a dozen rehab projects in this half-mile stretch."

McCarthy notes that over a dozen housing rehabilitation projects are underway in partnership with Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, the Capital Region Land Bank, Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County, and Better Community Neighborhoods, Inc. or BCNI.

"We're gonna do some additional improvements to Landon Terrace Park, there's some good equipment there, we're gonna add some playground equipment, take the fencing down, do some landscaping. This building right across the street is going through the planning process, where it's going to be converted to a 55 unit multifamily senior housing project."

McCarthy referring there to the old Elmer Avenue School, built in the early 20th century to serve families when industry was booming in the Electric City. The school closed in 2016.

Mayor Gary McCarthy, Nathan Dortch & Riana Piccirillo-Delgado with HS Capital Realty
Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Mayor Gary McCarthy, Nathan Dortch & Riana Piccirillo-Delgado with HS Capital Realty

Nathan Dortch with HS Capital Realty says today it's easier than ever to look for a home.

"With the with the pandemic winding down, we are still in full effect with all CDC guidelines, and even exceeding those guidelines. We're still doing live video tours for homeowners to view homes safely from their home. We're also doing virtual tour quality pictures consistently. So that part hasn't adjusted at all. But far as the housing market, inventory is low, so it's definitely a seller's market. We have more people buying than we have homes available. And that's why we're working so hard to promote and put out as many quality properties as we can for the city of Schenectady."

McCarthy says home ownership is good for the city.

“When properties are owned by competent, caring landlords, they pay their property taxes. They invest in and they maintain it. And not only creates value for the property that they own, but the surrounding property. And we've had too many cases not only in Schenectady, in other places where people have walked away from properties, they don't maintain. And they're really people who shouldn't own property to begin with. And it has such a negative effect on neighborhoods in the community as a whole. It drives up our costs. And it's just unfortunate. That's why it’s just so proud to be here, front of this building, which shows all the good things that are happening.”

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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