Developer taking a swing at Schenectady Golf Course Project


SCHENECTADY — The Midwestern real estate development company that brought a million-square-foot Amazon warehouse and fulfillment center to Schodack wants city leaders in Rotterdam and Schenectady to consider rezoning a 117-acre parcel that straddles the communities.

But Zachary Zweifler, development manager at Scannell Properties, LLC, of ​​Indianapolis, told the Times Union that if zoning changes are ultimately approved for the project, there are no plans to build an Amazon warehouse on what is now the Stadium Golf Club near I-890 and Route 7 with easy access to two Thruway interchanges.

“We had no conversations with Amazon, no vision of Amazon – nothing was discussed, nothing was thought about,” Zweifler said. “I think it’s a big enough site that we should have, and I anticipate we will have, a mix of uses.

Yet the neighbors near the course are skittish and contemplating their next move.

Scannell also sought to change the zoning requirements of the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta so that it could construct several large buildings that could be used for manufacturing, research and development or warehouses. Currently, the approximately 55 acres in Schenectady are zoned multi-family residential and the approximately 63 acres in Rotterdam are zoned single-family residential.

Scannell is seeking a rezoning to make it a commercial area in Schenectady and a light industrial area in Rotterdam.

The application filed with the Schenectady planning office says the “proposal would provide beneficial development and services” to residents of the city.

Chad Putman, who lives in Woodlawn and is part of the neighborhood association, said Friday that he and other concerned neighbors are closely monitoring developments. He said the neighborhood association knew of at least five landlords on Kings Road adjoining the golf course who the developer had already approached with an offer to buy their residence.

“You talk about taking 160 acres of green space in our neighborhood and turning it into a parking lot, warehouses, and massive amounts of trucks that come and go on a regular basis, and we don’t really see how that’s working for our neighborhood,” said Putman, who is also involved with the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association.

He said they plan to call a neighborhood meeting in February to discuss the proposed rezoning, which is expected to go through the governing bodies and planning councils of Schenectady and Rotterdam.

Schenectady Planning Commission chairwoman Mary Moore Wallinger said she hopes residents get a chance to weigh in.

“It’s a great site, and whatever the proposal, it will be important to include the community in the decision and give them a chance to understand what’s on offer,” she said.

Towards the end

In November, Scannell Properties, which has completed projects for General Electric, FedEx, General Mills and Best Buy, announced the deal with stadium owner Greg Hennel.

Hennel, 56, said he made the difficult decision to sell because his children did not want to return to the course and he was willing to give up working seven days a week during the golf season.

He recalled the deep roots of his family and the history of the sport at the golf course, but said he was convinced that anything that replaced him would create many more full-time jobs than he could ever offer, would generate tax revenue for the municipality and would not be a burden on the school system.

“There’s a bit of sadness there, but I also have to think about what’s best for me and what’s best for the community,” Hennel said. He said Scannell had the option of buying the property, but pointed out the stadium would be open for golf this year.

The deal is structured so that once Hennell decides to retire, Scanell will buy the property from him, Zweifler said.

“We’re really trying to set the stage for when the current owner of the property decides he’s ready to retire,” Zweifler said.

Potential uses

Zweifler said that since the deal was announced, Scannell has so far heard and spoken with companies involved in retail, research and development, medical, office and light manufacturing, among others. .

“I think all of that, or probably some combination of that, is probably what’s going to end up being on the site,” Zweifler added. “I don’t think there’s a single user who’s going to take over the whole project. I think it will go to a variety of projects.

The full portion of Scannell’s environmental assessment of the application filed with Schenectady indicates that peak traffic is expected in the morning, evening and weekends and that the planned hours of operation could be 24 hours a day. most days, including holidays.

This same environmental documentation also shows that potential businesses could use 100,000 gallons of water per day.

Zweifler said the level of detail is “purely just for SEQRA (environmental quality) review,” noting that golf courses already use a lot of water for irrigation.

“We have to do the worst-case scenario, so for us…that’s why we asked them to look at it based on that assumption,” he said.

To pay homage to the plot’s history, the name Blue Jay Park is considered by Scannell to be a tribute to the Schenectady Blue Jays, a minor league baseball team that played at the old McNearney Stadium, which occupied the site in the 1950s. when it became Stadium Golf Course.

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