New apartments proposed for former American Linen Co site

Old mill plant
The former American Linen plant on North Hudson Avenue in picture from the 1970s.

A local developer is seeking approval from the village Board of Trustees to construct luxury apartments at the old American Linen property on North Hudson Avenue.

Dennis DeGennaro of Camelot Associates pitched a proposal at the board’s July meeting to erect five, two-story apartment buildings on the long-vacant factory land, each building containing eight one- or two-bedroom modern living units. There would be a total of 40 apartments in all built on the property that would lease for about $900 a month.

“That’s very reasonable because the average rent in the Tri-Cities area (Albany, Schenectady, Troy) is about $1,400 (a month),” DeGennaro told the board. “I think it would work well here and be a great fit for the village.”

The buildings would feature a vinyl sided and brick exterior and be modeled after a similar development in the Town of Colonie. The cost of the project is about $2 million, he said. Also included on the land would be 80 parking spaces — 10 of those in the form of detached garages — to meet the village’s zoning requirements of two parking spaces per unit. The bottom floor of each building would be handicap accessible.

Camelot made a different proposal for the former American Linen site about eight years ago which included a strip mall and a bank. But after the developer got all of its approvals the country went into a recession and the project was abandoned.

“Now we’re back with this new concept for the land,” DeGenarro said.

Two Trustees, Judith Wood-Shaw and Ellen Vomacka, said they’d still prefer the site be developed with a business or at least as a business-residential mix similar to what has done in Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park.

”I feel we need a sales tax base and that’s our only prime piece of property at this point in time available in the village,” Vomacka said. “Can the village support 40 more apartments? We need retail here. I don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling about this. We need an analysis done on this with facts and numbers before I can make any decision.”

DeGennaro said business or a business-residential mix “was one of our first ideas but we ran into problems. We have to work around the wetlands there and that interferes with parking. It was difficult to squeeze in 80 spots for residential parking as it was.”

Trustee Timothy Campbell also had concerns about the complex’s proposed heating system. In spite of several request to New York State Electric and Gas Corp (NYSEG), Stillwater has no natural gas lines in the village, so DeGennaro explained the apartments would be heated by propane versus more expensive electric heat.

”We don’t want 40 (propane) tanks up there,” Campbell said.

Following the presentation, Mayor Ernest Martin said Trustees would further discuss the proposal and get back to the developers with a decision.

The American Linen plant, which last manufactured hunting and boot socks, originally started operating as the Stillwater Knitting Co. and merged with the Ballston Spa Knitting Co. in 1924. The plant closed its doors in 1965 and the building was later razed. The property has remained vacant for many years.

In other business on July 15:

  • Trustees heard a presentation by Dave Meager from Adirondack Trust Insurance Co. summarizing the annual renewal of the village’s insurance policy. Meager said there will be a slight increase in cost next year of about 3 percent because of two new additions to the Buildings and Contents coverage policy: a new Ford F450 truck and the CAT excavator. The village changed its insurance coverage last year to NYMIR, which specializes in municipal insurance coverage.
  • Trustees also heard an update on the village sewer project from Adirondack Mountain Engineering representative Ed Hernandez. Hernandez said the project is moving right along now. Park Avenue has been completed and they have located “the main” on Bunce Lane. The contractors have started the directional drill at the pump station and are preparing to schedule more pipe sealing work by the Insituform company.
  • The village received a correspondence from Bob and Kathy Wood thanking village Department of Public Works employees for their “helpfulness and professionalism” in assisting with a pipe issue in their back yard.
  • Trustee Vomacka reported she has carpet samples for possibly replacing the carpet in the village board room at a cost of about $2,000.
  • Trustee Wood-Shaw she and the Mayor attended an emergency preparedness meeting June 20 and there will be a suspicious behavior training seminar at Stillwater High School on October 14. The Senior Time will resume on Friday, September 26 at the Stillwater Area Community Center. More details will follow.