Gillen: Schenectady nightclub project will move ahead

The building was also subject to state and federal approval and required the installation of a fire escape, a sprinkler system and other safety precautions.

While Waite couldn't be reached for comment, Gillen said he speaks with his tenant nearly every day.

"[Mr. Waite] has not come back asking for a single penny," said Gillen. "And we can account for every dime that went into that building."

When asked by Suhrada if Waite was close to defaulting on his loans, Gillen said no.

The 26,000-square-foot, four-floor structure at 411 State Street will also be the home of Waite's law offices on the fourth floor. Gillen said Metroplex officials were actively shopping the first and third floors of the facility.

"We have not invested in the Big House," said. Gillen. "We have invested in 411 State Street."

Gillen said Metroplex has taken what was once an abandoned dollar store and an unquestionable eyesore, and put the building back on the tax rolls. Gillen said the building used to pay $3,000 per year in taxes and will now pay over $100,000 per year in property taxes.

Gillen said he is disappointed in the stalled project, but that he is still optimistic that The Underground, despite having missed several announced grand openings, will open in the next few years.

"It's much, much easier to build new," said Gillen. "Renovation is very tough."

Future of Main Street

While much of Gillen's presentation touted Metroplex's role in garnering more than $300 million in total investment in Schenectady County since 2004, he also spoke to the Legislature about possible improvements to downtown areas in Scotia and Rotterdam and retail opportunities in Niskayuna.

In Scotia, Gillen said he hopes to revitalize the village through faCade grants. He said he also hopes to do something about the village's abandoned McDonalds restaurant.

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