Business Leader Insights

Welcome to this first edition of our Regional Connections e-newsletter.

It’s an exciting time in the Capital Region, with development giving new life to underutilized and long-forgotten spaces – revitalizing the area for residents as well as visitors.

A prime example is the 60-acre development at Mohawk Harbor. Until a few years ago, the focal point in the area was the ALCO locomotive plant that had been vacant for decades. Still, there was a grander vision for this site along the scenic Mohawk River.

Today, the Mohawk Harbor development includes Rivers Casino and Resort which – with its gaming, entertainment venues, hotel and ample parking structure – is now attracting both local and regional crowds. Recent construction has also added an apartment building, townhouses, outdoor amphitheater and two office/retail buildings. These projects have further transformed the once silent area into a vibrant work/live/play destination – prompting LeChase and others to relocate their offices to the development.

You can read more about Mohawk Harbor in the project spotlight section of this e-newsletter. You will also read about two other projects that, while not as expansive, are still impactful. One is a new office building on the site of the former Starlite Theater in Colonie, NY; the other is renovation of 1960’s-era student housing at SUNY Albany – enhancing the student living and learning experience.

While all vary in size, location and purpose, they each illustrate how the right project can transform an underutilized space or dated facility to serve its community today. As construction professionals, our LeChase team feels privileged to work on these types of projects; as residents, we’re excited for the continuing development that is revitalizing and shaping our region for the future.

Project Highlights

Once a manufacturing center for railway trains and military tanks, Mohawk Harbor is now earning a reputation as one of the Capital Region’s prime live/work/stay/play destinations.

LeChase had a role in the transformation from the beginning, with construction of Rivers Casino & Resort – one of the state’s first licensed casinos. In addition to a 50,000-SF gaming floor, the complex offers a 600-person banquet facility, high-end steak house, restaurants and day spa. That project also included construction of an 841-car precast parking structure and the 163-room Landing Hotel which – like the Casino – makes optimal use of scenic views along the adjacent Mohawk River.

In addition to the resort, LeChase continued to build several projects within the 60-acre planned community:

  • An outdoor amphitheater provides seasonal entertainment for residents and visitors.
  • A luxury apartment complex, The River House, offers 206 waterfront units.
  • One and Two Harbor Center offer both office and retail spaces.

 

For LeChase, extensive use of concrete was one common factor across the Mohawk Harbor projects. LeChase’s ability to self-perform concrete work ensured projects were completed on time and to specification. In total, almost 45,000 cubic yards of concrete was placed.

QUICK FACTS:

  • LeChase’s roles included: Preconstruction Manager, CM-at-Risk, Agency CM and Subcontractor
  • Work included more than 1 million SF of construction:
    • 150,000-SF casino, 83,000-SF hotel and 307,000-SF parking structure
    • 400,000-SF apartment building
    • Two office/retail buildings, 105,000 SF in total
    • Amphitheater
  • LeChase self-performed concrete for all projects – a total of 44,800 yd3
  • Started: December 2015
  • Completed:
    • All projects delivered by December 2017
    • Fit-out of office and retail spaces continues

The Starlite Theater in Colonie, N.Y. was once alive with crowds who came to see their favorite singers, bands and comedians. After sitting unused for 20 years, the site is poised for a new beginning in 2019 as work wraps up on a four-story office building that will be anchored by financial services firm AYCO.

Using Lean principles – which seek to eliminate wasted time, materials and effort in the construction process ­– LeChase is on schedule to complete the core & shell of the 150,000-SF structure just one year after starting the project.

In addition to constructing the building itself, the project has required extensive site work. It began with eight-weeks of rock blasting needed to prepare the site for the office building and its infrastructure. In addition, because of site elevation changes, 25-foot retaining walls are being built to protect the wetlands that lie to the north. The project will also include amenities like surface parking lots for tenants and walking trails through the adjacent wetland areas.

QUICK FACTS:

  • LeChase’s role: Construction Manager/General Contractor
  • Work includes:
    • Sitework to protect adjacent wetlands
    • Construction of a 150,00-SF, four-story office building with metal panel and glass exterior
    • Addition of surface parking lots
  • Started: August 2018
  • Expected completion: August 2019

Campus housing plays a role in the college selection process for many students. To compete, colleges and universities must offer desirable living spaces as well as sound academic programs.

For the State University of New York at Albany, building a new dorm to replace the 55-year old Dutch Quad residence hall was not an option. Given the space-constrained campus, new construction would require taking out much-needed parking. Instead, the school opted for transform Dutch Quad to provide the modern amenities and state-of-the-art facilities today’s students expect.

LeChase is contracted with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), and is no stranger to SUNY Albany. In the past decade, LeChase has managed nearly $75 million of construction work on campus. On the Dutch Quad project – with two buildings gutted for total renovation – the team is on an aggressive schedule to finish work within 14 months. Delivering in that timeframe means SUNY Albany will only have to operate without the facility for a single academic year.

When complete, Dutch Quad will provide updated living space for students, and will also house the school’s Health Services and Counseling Center.

QUICK FACTS:

  • LeChase’s role: General Contractor
  • Work includes complete gutting and renovation of existing 76,000-SF precast concrete buildings:
    • New roof and windows
    • New mechanical, plumbing, electrical
  • Started: May 2018
  • Expected completion: August 2019