Conversion of old St. Mary’s School in Schenectady awaits word on grant

Apartment project would be latest piece of Eastern Avenue Corridor revitalization

April 28, 2019

BY JOHN CROPLEY, The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY — Two pieces of the old St. Mary’s church complex on Eastern Avenue are saved, work is underway on a third and developers hope to hear soon about financing for the fourth.

The church has been repurposed as a restaurant/entertainment venue, the former rectory is in use as a residence, and stabilization work is underway on the old convent.

The biggest question mark is the century-old parochial school building on Irving Street, across from the church, which hasn’t hosted schoolchildren since 1979 and has suffered from neglect, vandalism and water intrusion.

“It was designated a historic place a year and a half ago, so we’ve been trying our best to keep people out of it,” said David Hogenkamp, executive director of the Capital Region Land Bank, which is trying to pull together a multipart renovation and construction project surrounding the church.

The roughly $20 million project would renovate the school building, which is now owned by the city, into 25 apartments. It would also demolish three commercial buildings across Eastern Avenue from the old St. Mary’s Church and replace them with 30 apartments and retail space.

The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, which administers the Land Bank, also is involved in the project. It wrote a critical grant request to New York State Housing and Community Renewal. A decision is expected in May; all local approvals for the project are in place, and winning the grant would allow work to begin in October.

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To view a photo gallery of the old St. Mary’s school on the Daily Gazette website, click here.