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Northern Rivers to sell Schenectady building but remain on site

Northern Rivers to sell Schenectady building but remain on site

530 Franklin St. office building to get upgrades, go back on tax rolls
Northern Rivers to sell Schenectady building but remain on site
The exterior of 530 Franklin St. in downtown Schenectady is shown on Thursday.
Photographer: John Cropley/Gazette Business Editor

A large office building in downtown Schenectady is changing hands and going back on the tax rolls.

Northern Rivers Family of Services is selling 530 Franklin St. to developer Chris Spraragen, who will refresh the facade, add a new elevator and lease out the roughly 10,000-square-foot top floor, which is now underutilized.

Northern Rivers will continue to occupy the first and second floors for at least the next 10 years. It has about 70 employees on site.

The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority announced a deal Thursday by which Spraragen will buy the structure and invest nearly $500,000 in renovations on it, and receive a partial property tax break.

The building is assessed at $2,317,900, but Northern Rivers, which bought it in 2006, has not paid taxes on it because as a non-profit it is tax-exempt.

Spraragen will pay zero taxes during the renovation, then make a $40,000 payment in lieu of taxes the first year after the renovations are complete. The payment will increase gradually to $85,000 over 10 years, and then the building will be taxed at its full value.

Spraragen also will pay a premium above and beyond the payment in lieu of taxes when he starts collecting rent on the top floor.

Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said it was a good deal, returning a large building to tax-paying status and retaining scores of jobs in downtown Schenectady. 

There is a need for the space that will be opened on the third floor with the addition of another elevator, he added. Schenectady has the second-lowest office rental space vacancy rate in the Capital Region after Saratoga Springs, according to the latest report by commercial realtor CBRE, which tracks this data annually.

In a news release, Spraragen said, “This is a project that will renovate a key building, keep Northern Rivers downtown and create new office space due to the upgrades we have planned for the building. I would like to thank Northern Rivers and Metroplex for working together with my development company to renovate another major building in Schenectady, which is my hometown.”

Albany-based Northern Rivers, with its member agencies Northeast Parent & Child Society and Parsons Child & Family Center, has 1,400 employees that serve 16,000 children, adults and families in 35 counties. It uses 530 Franklin St. for administrative offices.

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