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Hamilton Square renovations move ahead

VENT Fitness opens, M&T breaks ground, Starbucks brewing at Guilderland plaza

An artist’s rendering by Reform Architecture shows what Hamilton Square is expected to look like when renovations are complete.

An artist’s rendering by Reform Architecture shows what Hamilton Square is expected to look like when renovations are complete.

— Hamilton Square, formerly named 20 Mall, is looking to redefine not only the plaza’s name, but also what residents have come to expect of its offerings.

VENT Fitness opened the first phase of its new 45,000-square-foot fitness center at Hamilton Square in Guilderland on Monday, July 22. Also in the works for the shopping center: M&T Bank has started construction on a new branch and Starbucks has revealed plans for a new store. Construction has also begun on VENT’s second phase of its facility, which is expected to be completed in January 2014.

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An artist's rendering of what the new Starbucks building at Hamilton Square in Guilderland will look like once construction is completed.

William Lia Jr., of Lia Group, which owns Hamilton Square and VENT Fitness, said the company is excited about the shopping center’s transformation. Lia said the renovations will offer “a more inviting experience” and provide a “diverse mix of shops and services” for town residents.

“It has been a project that is a lot of years in the making, but we really wanted to modernize the entire center and make it more customer friendly,” Lia said. “I would call us a neighborhood community shopping center. We are really about providing services people in the immediate area need.”

The planning process lasted three to four years as design and approvals were acquired, he said. The first phase of renovations tackled the back area, inline stores, parking lot lights and infrastructure. He said traffic flow within the plaza was also improved to be more efficient and safe.

Once the new M&T Bank opens, the old bank will be demolished and construction of the new Starbucks will begin, he said.

VENT Fitness, which opened in the former Gold’s Gym, features include tanning, hydro-massage, oxygen bar, kids club, modern cardio equipment, free weight and express training and group exercise classes. The second phase of the facility will add a basketball court, volleyball, swimming pool, rock climbing and a several small and large group training rooms.

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