For everyone who hoped that the plan to demolish the ill-fated "shopping center" in the first block of Warren Street and replace it with a market rate apartment building, as proposed by Benchmark Development in February 2021, would eventually happen, this is not good news.
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Today, Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, announced that the county intends to buy the property from Galvan for $3.35 million "to solve [the county's] infrastructure concerns that have arisen in recent years." Galvan bought the building from COARC in August 2014 for $1.575 million. What follows is the press release issued by Murell today:
The Columbia County Board of Supervisors at its Wednesday, August 9, monthly meeting voted to purchase the building located at 11 Warren Street, Hudson, in a move that is expected to solve infrastructure concerns that have arisen in recent years.
The property at 11 Warren Street sits on a .94 of one acre and is zoned Central Commercial, for professional, governmental, or business use. It offers 18,622-square-feet, all on one level, with 30 onsite parking spots. The building was erected in 1985. [Gossips correction: The building was built it 1975.]
With a purchase price of $3,350,000 and anticipated renovations and contingencies, the overall projected project cost of 11 Warren Street is $8,715,500.
“This is a positive step for Columbia County and I’m excited about this opportunity,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell, who noted that with the high cost of commercial construction, the sum required to put up a structure that would solve the needs under consideration makes that option virtually prohibitive.
“11 Warren Street solves a multitude of issues,” he said.
Among those issues, outlined Department of Public Works Commissioner Ray Jurkowski, are space and storage concerns with the Board of Elections at 401 State Street, an aging county building at 610 State Street, as well as other space questions. “11 Warren Street is a unique opportunity, with a number of features that make it attractive to the county,” he said.
Commissioner Jurkowski explained that “610 State Street, a building that dates to 1886, has been identified as an issue in the county infrastructure. The purchase of 11 Warren Street means the county will not have to make a significant investment in upgrades and renovations to that building.”
At this time, 610 State Street is home to the Probation Department, the Public Defender’s Office, and the 911 backup call center. The latter will be decommissioned when the new 911 center at Commerce Park is complete, at which time the 911 center in use at this time in the county public safety building becomes the backup call center.
A long-term third-party building condition estimate to maintain 610 State Street, conducted in 2019 and adjusted for inflation, stands at $5,090,400.
The county Board of Elections is currently housed in the county building located at 401 State Street, where its new voting machines are stored in the basement. That’s a situation Commissioner Jurkowski described as “not the best. The machines are a big investment and there are concerns with storing them in that environment.”
Further, a county Board of Elections is required by state law to maintain its offices within the limits of the county seat. A ballot initiative would be needed to move it out of the county seat.
“I stand strongly behind the purchase of 11 Warren Street–it’s a no-brainer,” said Austerlitz Town Supervisor and county Deputy Chairman Rob Lagonia. “It’s a huge game-changer for the county. I’m very excited about it.”
“It’s a home run for the county,” added Livingston Town Supervisor and county Deputy Chairman and Finance Chairman James Guzzi, who pointed to 11 Warren Street’s open floor plan, with no interior load bearing walls, as a “good fit in terms of its simplicity. It allows us to move office space around in different ways. 11 Warren Street is in good shape and it fills a void for the county in a good way.”
In addition, when the move out of 610 State Street is complete, it can be placed on the market and ultimately restored to the tax rolls.
It will be interesting to see how the five Hudson supervisors voted on this issue, but the minutes of this meeting have not yet been made available.