Fulton County organization will seek waiver of fees on Gloversville property proposed for lofts

ERICA MILLER/THE LEADER-HERALD Ken Kearney, owner of Kearney Realty Group, speaks of the new Glove City Lofts beside Gloversville Mayor Vince DeSantis, in May

GLOVERSVILLE — The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth will petition Gloversville City Court to waive $34,800 in court-ordered fees currently attached to 52 Church St., the proposed location for the $20 million “Glove City Lofts” 75-unit “artist housing” project.

FCCRG President and CEO Ron Peters on Friday said his organization will still own the 3-acre property until the Kearney Realty Group executes its option to purchase it for $200,000. Kearney signed a 12-month purchase option agreement with the CRG in May. In the meantime, Peters said he intends to pursue removal of the fees, which were incurred under the previous owners prior to the CRG taking over the property earlier this year.

“We’re going to do it on our end. That’s just another formality, but it’ll be us [that applies for the fees to be waived],” Peters said. “There hasn’t been any transfer at all to Mr. Kearney.”

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The Gloversville Common Council voted unanimously on Sept. 14 to give city Commissioner of Finance Tammie Weiterschan the authority to waive $8,900 worth of unpaid fees for city-imposed abatements on the property, which contains the remains of a building most recently used as a Frontier Call Center. The same resolution indicated the city would not oppose any application by the owner of 52 Church St. to have the $34,800 in court-ordered fees waived on the parcel.

Mayor Vince DeSantis argued that it was a good idea to waive the fees attached to the property to help promote economic development in the city. He said the building permit for Glove City Lofts will by itself gain the city $40,022 in revenues, and the construction will gain the city significant amounts of sales tax revenue and eventually property tax revenue from the apartment building itself.

Glove City Lofts is also a cornerstone project in Gloversville’s 2021 application to win New York state’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant. Gloversville effectively has a double chance of being awarded funding through the DRI contest this year because the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council has two $10 million DRI grants to give out, or possibly one large $20 million grant. The Kearney Realty Group has a track record of building artist housing apartment projects in several communities that have won $10 million DRI grants in past years.

“[Glove City Lofts is] a good project. It’s going to be a game-changer for that part of town,” Peters said.

Peters said he is hopeful that Parkview Development & Construction, the development firm working for the Kearney Group, will present Kearney’s site plan for the Glove City Lofts project to the Gloversville Planning Board on Oct. 5.

The site plan had originally been scheduled to be presented to the city planning board in July, until it was discovered that 52 Church St. had been rezoned from commercial to manufacturing in 2015. DeSantis during that meeting told the board the city government was already considering a rezoning process for some parts of the city as part of its Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and the two U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants it received in 2019: the $225,000 Brownfield Opportunity Area Study grant and $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant. DeSantis indicated 52 Church St. would likely be a part of that rezoning process.

Fulton County Planner Sean Geraghty, who advises the city Planning Board, in July said he believed it would take until the first week of September for the council to propose changes to the city’s zoning rules, present them to the Planning Board for a recommendation and then conduct a public hearing and ultimately vote on the changes.

But none of that has happened yet.

Peters acknowledged the property does need to be rezoned but he’s confident the city will do it.

“That’s not going to be an issue for us going forward. It’s just a technicality going forward,” Peters said. “You might say ‘Let’s do it anyway’ and just continue on with the rezoning process. I don’t see it holding up any projects.”

Parkview Development & Construction’s July application for site plan review included some details about the proposed $20 million project, including that the anticipated construction time was expected to be from April 2022 to December 2023.

To build the apartment building the 45,000 square foot former call center will be demolished and then the four-story loft-style apartment building would be built on the corner of the lot placing it directly on Frontage Road and Church Street, reorienting the parking lot to the rear of the parcel. Of the 75 planned apartment units, 47 of them would be 1-bedroom and 28 two-bedroom apartments.

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By Paul Wager