Building Boom: Malta in rapid growth phase
By Paul Post, The Saratogian Posted: 03/16/17
Malta is in the midst of a major construction boom that’s helping Saratoga County remain upstate New York’ fastest-growing county.
GlobalFoundries’s $10 billion investment at Luther Forest Technology Campus has contributed to another wave of building in both the residential and commercial sectors.
Hundreds of apartment units are springing up on Route 9, south of Exit 12, and town rezoning efforts are aimed at spurring retail growth on Routes 9 and 67, west of the Northway.
“Every summer I think this is the busiest summer, then it gets busier,” said Sophia Marruso, senior planner in the town of Malta Building and Planning Department. “We have a lot of active construction.”
GlobalFoundries employees are only one source of people filling apartments costing in the $1,200 to $2,000 per month range.
Town Supervisor Vincent DeLucia said many other young professionals and business people are attracted to Saratoga County’s “quality of life” cultural and recreational opportunities. Primarily, they’re moving here from urban areas and prefer apartments because there’s no work involved with property upkeep.
“A lot of things are taken care of for them,” DeLucia said.
GrandeVille at Malta, off Route 9, is a partially completed 511-unit apartment complex by Rochester-based LeCesse Development and Morgan Management. Many tenants are U.S. Navy personnel assigned to the navy’s nuclear training facility in West Milton, GrandeVille Manager Julia Tedesco said.
Until recently, most residential development between Albany and Saratoga Springs was single-family home subvisions. Apartments are a new product in this middle ground, Malta, a good location for people headed to jobs up and down the Northway corridor, Tedesco said.
Plus, the cost of living is somewhat less than in the Spa City, she said.
DeLucia said apartments are an attractive option for young couples, just moving to an area, who want to get acquainted with new surroundings before starting a family and buying a home.
Another 214 new units are found at The Lofts at Saratoga Boulevard, near GrandeVille.
About a mile south on Route 9, 24 large new single-family homes are part of a new construction phase, including 14 new condominiums and professional and office space, at the Woodfield subdivision. Elsewhere, the Shecky development consists of single-family homes and two commercial lots; Abele Builders is advancing a 47-lot subdivision; and Malta Springs, on the west side of Route 9 north of Cramer Road, has 72 townhomes currently under construction.
Additionally, plans call for an upscale 100-unit, senior independent living complex, offering an array of services, at Saratoga Medical Park — Saratoga Hospital’s property at Exit 12. Site work has already begun on the project.
In January, the town approved plans for a new Medical Park building the hospital will jointly occupy with Saratoga Regional YMCA. Groundbreaking is expected this spring.
“That will be going up this year across from the independent living facility,” Marruso said.
Both new buildings will be on Medical Park property just north of the existing emergent care facility at Exit 12.
On the opposite side of the Northway, major commercial growth is expected to give a whole new look to the northeast corner of Exit 12 in the next year or so. Plans call for a new Comfort Inn & Suites hotel, plus a separate 17-building mixed-use development in the Kelch Drive area. This project, still in the conceptual phase, is expected to have commercial and retail space including a restaurant.
In the past year, the town has revised zoning on Route 9 south of Exit 12, and on Route 67 west of the Northway, to expand the list of permitted commercial uses. A committee has also been formed with a goal of instituting similar zoning changes on Route 9, north of Exit 12.
There are several reasons for doing this, DeLucia said.
“These are natural commercial corridors,” he said.
For example, construction on a new retail outlet, Sitwell Plaza, is now under way just south of Exit 12 on Route 9, almost directly opposite the large GrandeVille and Lofts apartment complexes.
Also, encouraging business growth in these areas will hopefully preserve the few remaining rural areas in outlying parts of Malta, DeLucia said.
Commercial growth has an obvious financial benefit for the town, too. The county’s distribution of sales tax revenue is based on each town and city’s total assessed property valuation. If Malta’s percentage of the county’s overall valuation goes up, the town stands to gain more sales tax.
At present, Malta’s financial position is strong enough that it doesn’t have to impose a local town tax on residents.
Obtaining a greater share of county sales tax will allow Malta to continue this track record, while providing the increased services required of a growing population, DeLucia said.