|Scolite and Bruno Machinery|
Final approval of the Scolite property was put on hold, in part, because attorneys for one of the bidders that were not awarded development rights to the South Troy property has concerns about a change in the project’s specifications and wants it put back out to another bid.
Attorneys for Adams Street Properties will be meeting with the Council. The matter was pulled from the Council's Feb. 6 agenda by Mayor Lou Rosamilia.
In August, 2013, RJ Valente, was chosen out of four bidders to develop the property. In June, 2013, Valente had already purchased the adjacent Bruno Machinery site for $750,000. In October of last year the city, at Valente’s request, changed the zoning from commercial to heavy industrial though Valente had not yet formally purchased the property.
As part of awarding the bid to Valente, the city planned on entering into “exclusive negotiations” as to the development of the site. The city, however, has not said what that actually entails. According to a statement by city spokeswoman Jessica Sibley at the time: “More details of the project will be disclosed as negotiations progress.”
But, according to a letter written by an attorney for Adams Street Properties, one of the three other bidders, their initial proposal to the city included “access to the Scolite site over their adjoining properties and public streets northerly to and from the Congress Street Bridge, as well as rail and Hudson River access.
“My clients have now been advised that the city proposed to provide access to the Scolite property for the apparent sole benefit of the pending successful bidder via a new roadway to be constructed in part through the lands of the Perry Companies, running southerly from Monroe Street,” according to the Feb. 5 letter written by attorney William Doyle.
“It is our clients’ position that this proposed access was not part of the original Scolite proposal, and is a substantial deviation from the original project scope,” the letter continues. “We are hereby requesting that the city reexamine the Scolite redevelopment terms and bid and take into consideration this substantial deviation.
“We believe such review will confirm the necessity of a new request for proposals for the redevelopment of the Scolite site.”
The letter goes onto state that in order for the city to provide the access described it would have to either get permission from the Perry Companies or take the land through eminent domain. Boyle said his clients would not give permission, so the only other option is for the city to purchase the necessary land at fair market value.
Talk of an access road through the South Troy Working Waterfront as a way to spur development and keep heavy trucks out of residential neighborhoods has been ongoing for about three decades. While a solid concept, several hurdles stand in the way including the number of actual property owners that would either have to sell land or sell easements. Also, federal law prohibits the building of anything within a certain distance of the railroad tracks that run along the river.
The council was slated to vote on the sale at the Feb. 6 meeting, a day after the letter was sent, but was pulled from the agenda.
Adams Street Properties, according to the letter, is operated by Jack and Cynthia Perry. It also includes other entities with financial interests including Warren Fane Inc.
The other two bidders on the Scolite properties were Collar City Aggregate and Land Development of New York.
It’s unclear if the Adams Street Companies, or one of the other bidders who were not privy to the new road configuration, will bring a lawsuit if the project does not go back out for another bid.