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Schenectady's Center City gets facelift

Buicko said that the Galesi Group plans to devote first-floor space to retail businesses. Offices will make up the second and third floors with residential apartments occupying the fourth floor.

Buicko called the building a "hodgepodge."

Bombers Burritos Bar has leased space on the first floor of the facility and has begun construction. County officials said the bar could open within six months. Bombers also has a popular Lark Street location in Albany.

Gillen said Schenectady's Bombers would be significantly bigger than the Lark Street location and would be a draw for Union College students.

Currently, Center City contains several county agencies including Metroplex. The facility also houses a drug store, a rock-climbing gym and the youth soccer team, Black Watch Premier.

While Gillen noted that the county offices will be moving to another downtown location, he said Center City will retain its mixed-use theme.

"Mixed-use buildings are a popular concept in modern economic development," said Gillen.

The county is currently seeking tenants for Center City. One group rumored to move into the building is Schenectady County Community College's music program.

Gillen said Center City is one of several facilities the county has shown the college that would meet its needs.

Gillen also said the county is currently shopping the building around to possible retailers who could occupy the first floor of the building.

Loan will be repaid

As part of the plan to overhaul Center City, an outstanding $750,000, no-interest city loan will be repaid.

The city used funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to give Wade Lupe Companies the loan decades ago when they bought the building. Gillen said the program doesn't exist anymore.

The new plan stipulates that the city will be repaid $75,000 annually for the next 10 years until the loan is paid off.

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