Four years after the stamp of approval was placed on the Vista Tech Park plans, ground will be broken on the massive development in just a few days’ time.
The first steps of construction on Vista Boulevard, the ¾-mile road leading into the tech park, will be taken Monday, Oct. 3. This should quickly lead to work on the first round of buildings, which will be mostly retail and office uses.
“It has been a long time coming and not without its share of setbacks, but the vision of a Vista Technology Campus is finally a reality. The hard work and cooperation from the Town of Bethlehem and countless others has been remarkable. Vista is the vision championed by the late John Treffiletti and Don Led Duke,” said William Jones, the principal landowner of the land Vista will be located on, in a statement.
Like many development, a poor economy was a big factor in slowing down Vista. Earlier this year, stakeholders reached out to the Bethlehem Industrial Development Agency and over the course of several months crafted a financing plan that will allow the building of Vista Boulevard.
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the IDA met to discuss those bonds again. The final details are still being worked out, but a decision was made to proceed with construction, with Columbia Development backing the initial phase. The bonds should be issued sometime in October, Bethlehem Supervisor Sam Messina said, and they’re likely to total in the neighborhood of $7 million.
Messina called Vista “the most significant economic development project in the history of Bethlehem.”
“Many people and organizations including the Albany County Executive Michael Breslin and Legislative Chairman Dan McCoy, the developer, the Town, the Bethlehem IDA, landowners and others worked together as true partners over the last year on Vista. Now, Bethlehem is poised to see the construction of the road and the buildings – and the revenue generating tax benefits and new employment that will result,” he said.
Monday’s work is slated to begin without fanfare, but a groundbreaking ceremony will be set in a few weeks.
Many Bethlehem residents have already noticed the construction equipment staged by Builder BBL Construction.
“It’s going to be a busy next couple of months. This project represents a great deal of construction for a whole lot of folks. That’s good news in any economy,” said Jonathan deForest, BBL executive vice president.
The Vista master plan calls for 1.4 million square feet of office, retail and commercial space. Developers have been guarded when it comes to the identity of initial tenants but it’s likely a Shoprite grocery store will anchor the park’s retail component.