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Metroplex chair says Big House hubbub is a lot of hype

Waite said the second floor would also be office space available for lease.

According to Gillen, the building renewal project should have never been thought of as the "Big House," but rather an investment in the failing State Street building.

"We haven't invested in the Big House. We've invested in 411 State St.," said Gillen, who acknowledged that delays in the nightclub project were a disappointment. "Our money went into a complete gut renovation of this building. Top floor office, third floor office, first floor retail, and, yes, there will be the Big House Underground in the basement."

Susan E. Savage, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature said she is updated by Gillen daily on Metroplex projects and that she knew the restaurant project had been discontinued well before Metroplex's annual report was delivered to the Legislature. Savage said that Suhrada's recent comments are evidence that he "didn't pay attention" during committee reports.

"I was under the assumption that everyone knew the status of the project," said Savage. "He [Suhrada] or anyone else had an opportunity to ask questions when the topic was in front of the Legislature."

But Suhrada maintains that the failure of the Big House restaurant is evidence of the failure of Metroplex.

"He [Gillen] hasn't been up front with the Legislature," said Suhrada. "Susan Savage needs to fire Ray Gillen and get someone who will be honest with the Legislature."

He said Gillen should be accountable to the public when they ask why something that was promised will never open.

But Savage said that the Big House is only one example of a "modified" project and that Metroplex's more than 100 successful economic development projects show that in the majority of cases, projects come to fruition as promised.

Metroplex has awarded Waite a $1 million, 15-year loan, a $250,000 facade grant, and $50,000 to remove asbestos from the building over the past three years. They also provided a $100,000 loan toward a tax payment under the Empire Zone plan.

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