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Bethlehem Planning Board accepts Vista draft

The Vista Technology Park master plan moved one step closer to the Bethlehem Town Board with the planning board accepting the draft master plan and MEDD, mixed economic development district.

Mike Morelli, assistant economic development director and Jeff Lipnicki, town planner, presented the Vista Park draft master plan at the Tuesday, May 15, meeting of the planning board.

Vista includes an initial phase build-out of 250,000 square feet and the project will eventually encompass 1.4 million square feet when complete.

The majority of the first development is considered primary use, or research and technology space.

Vista officials said they are confident they will be able to attract enough technology-based companies that will allow for 80 percent of the project to fall into the primary use category. An additional 20 percent of the Vista campus, when developed, will be secondary use and include a mix of retail and office space. A restaurant along with a four-story hotel is also expected to be built on site.

The proposed hotel, once a part of phase one, is now a part of phase two in the draft master plan, said Morelli.

The reason for that change, according to developers, is the hotel construction is dependent on technology and office space occupants entering the Vista campus first.

Vista sits on four separate parcels of land in the towns of New Scotland and Bethlehem, with a majority of the project inside Bethlehem town boundaries. About one-third of the 450 total acres will be developed, and 4,000 new jobs are expected over a 10-year period.

"This project has been identified as an absolute tier one priority for the town," said Morelli. "The town overall is anxious to move this forward."

According to information in the final environmental impact statement, Vista will include a recreation and interpretive trail on site along with a secondary perimeter trail. There will be one roundabout on site and two bus stops. The New York State Department of Transportation is currently constructing a Slingerlands Bypass that will allow for easy access to the Vista Park.

Developers are expected to install a 12-inch water main on site. Expected sewer use capacity for the park at full site build out will be 194 gallons per minute.

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