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Niskayuna eyes future of St. James Square Plaza

At the Tuesday, March 13, agenda meeting, the Niskayuna Town Board discussed a plan to attract new jobs and investments to St. James Square Plaza through a partnership with Metroplex.

The Town Board voted to put the proposal for improving the occupancy and viability of the shopping center on the agenda for the Tuesday, March 25, regular meeting. The goal of the plan is to bring investment to the shopping plaza, which has been struggling for many years to fill empty space, by including it in the Metroplex service area. Metroplex is a regional urban renewal agency funded by a portion of the sales tax.

St. James Square is a retail center on Balltown Road and currently has vacant space estimated to be about 80,000 square feet.

We have been in discussions with Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen and the new owners of St. James Square, said Town Supervisor Joe Landry. "Our goal is to use Metroplex resources to recruit new tenants."

In order to proceed with the plan, the town board must approve it at the March 25 meeting by a two-thirds majority. If approved, a public hearing would be held in April. Following final approval, Metroplex would adjust its boundaries.

The Metroplex service area includes most commercial districts in the county.

"Filling St. James Square is the No. 1 priority for economic development in Niskayuna," said Town Board member Julie McDonnell.

In other resolutions, the board approved the following agenda items for the March 25 meeting.

The board will discuss the recruitment of three additional police officers. Chief of Police Lewis Moskowitz said new hires are required to fill vacancies that have occurred due to senior officers retiring. The staffing level for Niskayuna police in the approved budget is 27 total. The current level is below that number, and the three new hires would bring staffing back up to the approved level.

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