Union to buy vacant bank building near campus; move Campus Safety to location

Union to buy vacant bank building near campus; move Campus Safety to location

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Union College has agreed to purchase the former Bank of America building at Nott Street and Van Vranken Avenue, helping stabilize a key corner across from one of the campus’s main entrances.

Union will pay $135,000 for the 2,500-square-foot building. It has been vacant since Ann Cort LLC bought the property at auction in 2013. The College will receive a $25,000 grant toward the purchase from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority.

Following an extensive renovation, Union plans to move most operations of its Campus Safety Department to the site, including its 26-member security force. A number of services provided by the department, including vehicle registration, transportation and ID card processing, will remain at the current location in College Park Hall.

President Stephen C. Ainlay cited the presence along the corridor of Golub Corp. and Ellis Hospital, among others, as one of the factors in the College’s decision to purchase the property.

“This is a very strategic acquisition for us,” said Ainlay. “We wanted to do our part to help develop this critical corridor that borders our campus. By having the high visibility of the Campus Safety Department there, it not only brings them closer to campus, but benefits the neighborhood as well.”

Mayor Gary McCarthy said, “We thank Union and we believe that the use of this building for a campus safety office is an ideal fit for the College and the Northside neighborhood. We welcome this investment in Schenectady by the College.”

Schenectady County Legislator Gary Hughes said, “This is the perfect reuse of a long vacant building in our Northside neighborhood.  Thank you to Union College and President Ainlay for working together with the City, County and Metroplex to redevelop this eyesore into something that benefits both the College and the neighborhood.”

Ray Gillen, Metroplex Chair said, “When we approached President Ainlay about helping our efforts to redevelop lower Nott Street, he could not have been more cooperative. We are pleased to work with Union to bring this vacant bank building back to life. Just down the street, a $2 million renovation of the former DSS Building is underway by the Galesi Group and Mohawk Harbor is close by. Fixing this vacant bank will add to the redevelopment momentum in this part of our community.”

The project is the latest example of Union’s role as a key contributor to the vitality and economic vibrancy of Schenectady and the surrounding region. In March, Schenectady County’s Capital Resource Corporation issued bonds worth up to $70 million for the College’s new Integrated Science and Engineering Complex. The bond issuance generated $322,000 in fees for CRC and a contribution of $250,000 to the City of Schenectady.

The College’s impact is highlighted in the latest report by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU). Union contributed $322.5 million to the Capital Region economy in 2015.

With 865 employees and an annual payroll of more than $55 million, Union is among the largest employers in the region.

The College’s thousands of visitors come to campus each year for admissions tours, concerts, conferences, reunions, Homecoming, exhibits, and sporting and other events. Many visitors are from out-of-town and stay in area hotels, dine in local restaurants and patronize local retail businesses.

Union has been recognized nationally as a “good neighbor” for its positive contributions to the city of Schenectady,  including real dollars invested through its annual budget; the presence felt from payroll, research and purchasing power; and faculty and student involvement in community service.