SARATOGA SPRINGS – A plan to develop a new six-story, 40-unit condominium complex is moving through the city’s Land Use boards this month.
The “Five-Three,” located at 53 Putnam St., would be constructed opposite the Saratoga Springs Public Library and feature one-bedroom and two-bedroom units at a price range of $400,00 to $800,000, said Laura Manning, of First Fairfield Associates.
First Fairfield Associates created Putnam Resources LLC - the applicant for the Putnam Street project - and first began negotiating with owners 53 Putnam St. Inc. in 2013 to purchase and redevelop the property. The initial intent was to develop a performance venue with a food service component. However, the site was revealed to be contaminated from its earlier use as a dry cleaning facility as well as sustaining oil contamination from an offsite source, according to a project narrative provided to the city by AND Architecture - a design practice located in Saratoga Springs. Due to the contamination, it was determined the existing structure could not be salvaged for re-use, and a revised program submitted by Putnam Resources calls for the six-story mixed-use structure.
The 40 condominiums would occupy space between the second and sixth floors, inclusively. The ground-level floor would feature a shared kitchen to be used as an incubator for restaurant start-ups, and a rooftop green space would feature a lounge area for residents. Parking would be provided for residents through an agreement with a nearby lot, Manning said.
According to sketch plans filed with the city for review, the roof deck would start at 69 feet above the sidewalk and be fitted with a pergola (the top of which would rise to 78-feet above the sidewalk), and a stair tower – which would top-off at 84 feet, above ground-level.
The purchase and subsequent development of the site by Putnam Resources would follow demolition of the existing building on the site and environmental remediation via the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program –an alternative to greenfield development and intended to remove some of the barriers to, and provide tax incentives for, the redevelopment of urban brownfields.
The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation - advocates for the preservation of Saratoga Springs’ architectural, cultural, and landscaped heritage - issued a statement to say that while it does not object to the demolition of the existing structure and supports a new use for the site, the Foundation has “significant concerns” about the project as it is currently proposed, specifically citing the proposed project height, scale, and mass, as well as claims that it is “not compatible with the neighboring structures and the character of the historic setting.”
The Five-Three project was placed on the respective agendas of both the Design Review Commission and the Planning Board this week regarding a sketch plan review for the mixed-use building proposal.
Following all necessary approvals, the project would take about 14 months to develop at an estimated cost of as much as $30 million, Manning said.
In 2004, a six-level robotic parking garage and banquet facility to feature 189 vehicle spaces and street-level retail was targeted for the location. The proposal was created by Saratoga Parking and Banquet Inc., a group formed by Hank Kuczynski - who served as the deputy to former Mayor Kenneth Klotz, and John Franck, who is today the city's Finance Commissioner.