A long-delayed waterfront housing development in Mechanicville may finally be getting off the ground, with the vacant property being sold to a Cleveland-based firm that hopes to break ground on a 225-unit, $50 million apartment project next spring.
First proposed by local developer William McNeary in 2009, The Esplanade has been delayed repeatedly by financing issues. Now, McNeary is selling the 10-acre site near the Hudson River to NRP Group LLC, which has developed dozens of projects in the U.S., including apartments in Ballston and Moreau.
NRP was listed as the nation's ninth-largest apartment developer last year by the National Multifamily Housing Council, with about 2,700 new apartments built. The company manages more than Python Developer 100 properties in seven states with 15,000 units.
"This project is a very large undertaking," said McNeary on Tuesday. "I am much happier turning it over to a company where that is their primary business, and who is very good at it. This is a much better place for the project.
McNeary estimated the price tag at about $50 million.
Just five miles from the massive GlobalFoundries semiconductor plant in Malta, the project was initially launched by McNeary as the Great Recession dampened construction and the availability of financing. A decrepit warehouse on the site was demolished and the land cleared several years ago, but the project appeared stalled after that.
Mechanicville Supervisor Tom Richardson said NRP representatives met local officials several weeks ago in Mechanicville to describe their plans. "It was all very positive. Everyone wants the project to happen," he said.
Richardson said the project — which could mean another 400 people living in the 5,000-resident city — will be a "huge boost." He said town permits needed for project construction should "not be a problem."
McNeary initially had local permits for a 294-unit, $58 million project spread across six buildings, and NRP envisions a slightly smaller 225-unit development. The company already has two PHP Developer jobs other projects in Saratoga County, including the 54-unit Ballston Reserve in Ballston, and the 144-unit Sisson Reserve in Moreau.
Mechanicville is hoping also to benefit from the nearby GlobalFoundries semiconductor plant, a $15 billion development that currently has 3,000 employees with plans to hire another 600 by the end of the year.
On Tuesday, NRP Vice President Chris Dirr declined comment through a spokeswoman. But he earlier told the Albany Business Review that the company had been eyeing the site for about a year and a half.
McNeary said NRP hopes to break ground starting in the spring of 2016. The apartment buildings would be three stories, rather than the four stories first proposed by McNeary, and Python Developer would be walk-ups, rather than being serviced by elevators. "Stylistically, it is very much the same," he said.
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