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Metroplex chair says Big House hubbub is a lot of hype

Waite has also invested more than $1.6 million of his own money in the project, to make renovations to the 26,000-square-foot building.

Waite said he speaks with Metroplex representatives on a daily basis and that plans for a nightclub are moving forward.

"I'm not sure why people are attacking Ray Gillen," said Waite. "Do people remember what Schenectady looked like four years ago? They ought to be making him the king of the parade."

Although Waite said a design for a first-floor restaurant was completed, he said that from day one, the Big House would occupy the basement alone.

"We were going to look for a restaurant tenant for the first floor and then Metroplex approached us with the possibility of a retailer who was considering the space," said Waite.

Waite said that no final decision has been made about the first floor and that if the interested, but unnamed, retailer passes on the space, a restaurant project may yet develop if an interested tenant emerges.

The first-floor space is available for lease for $12 to $15 per square foot.

Waite said he's currently in the process of raising $400,000, which he said would complete the construction of several additional safety features. He said he's already invested $1.6 million into the building.

"I've been told that once we have the funds for the final work we can inhabit the basement and third floor within four weeks," said Waite.

Gillen stood by the county's original investment when he spoke to the Legislature in March.

"We had two empty dollar stores in downtown Schenectady in early 2004," said Gillen, in response to a question from Suhrada. "Think about that. Our community, the downtown community, the city, was not even able to support a dollar store."

While he didn't provide a timeframe, Gillen said he was confident that Waite's nightclub will open in the future and that "every dime" will be paid back.

To read an updated print edition of this story, pick up a copy of next week's Schenectady County edition of The Spotlight Newspapers on Thursday, May 8.

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