A few more bits about the potential sale of a chunk of the Harriman State Office Campus

Harriman campus site for sale overview

A site map from the state's request for proposals (RFP).

As you might have heard, the state has put a large chunk of the Harriman State Office Campus up for sale. It could be a big deal for the city of Albany because it holds the potential of adding taxable land (which the city's budget could use) and transforming a large site.

The state held a webcast about the sale Wednesday. It's online if you'd like to watch it, and only about 15 minutes. But we watched it so you wouldn't have to.

Here are a handful of interesting bits we took from it...

We gathered these bits from the webcast and the state's request for proposals. A lot of this isn't new information -- some of it isn't even directly related to the sale -- but we thought it was interesting.


A quick review:

+ The state has put 27 acres on the eastern end of the campus up for sale.

+ Minimum purchase price is $5.1 million.

+ The deadline for submitting propsals is September 15. Bidders will go through a two phase process. The three bidders with the highest scores after the first round will move onto the second. (See pdf p. 27 of the RFP for the criteria -- purchase price isn't a criterion until the second round.)

What the state has at the Harriman campus right now

The state currently occupies 2.8 million square feet of office at the campus with 8,000 employees, according to the webcast. And it's projecting to have 12,000 employees there by 2020 because of the ongoing "re-stacking" of state office space and the addition fo the new $184 million UAlbany ETEC building on the western end of the campus.

The webcast noted the state has spent $87 million on renovation and infrastucture projects at the Harriman campus over the last five years and another $152 million in projects is in progress.

By the way: That amount of office space -- 2.8 million square feet -- is kind of hard to wrap your head around. Here are some comparisons:

+ It's the equivalent of more than 48 football fields.

+ The combined square footage of Crossgates and Colonie Center is 2.9 million square feet (according to the state's webcast).

From the webcast.

What the state is hoping to see on the property that's for sale

Both the webcast and the RFP emphasized that the state is looking for proposals that will match up with the state already has going on at the campus. From the RFP:

OGS is seeking Proposals that are responsive to, but not limited to, the following development priorities:
+ Be of quality and character that is aesthetically and functionally consistent with the existing offices and the State's future plans on the Campus.
+ Emphasize pedestrian interaction with the existing office buildings on the Campus and provide retail opportunities for Campus employees who currently have limited options.
+ Introduce sustainable development initiatives and align with "green" principles, including incorporating green space and maintaining as many of the existing mature trees as possible to preserve a perimeter buffer along the Campus ring road.
+ Minimize traffic disruption by utilizing existing access points with the State-owned Campus ring road. Minimize congestion by maintaining at least two vehicular access points to the Campus ring road.
+ Incorporate sufficient parking for the proposed uses.
+ Have a positive economic effect by demonstrating that the development of the Site will spur the use of private resources, create jobs and increase the tax base of the City, and include meaningful participation of New York businesses, including small businesses, certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), and certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOBs).

Also from the RFP: "[The state Office of General Services] envisions a project with a vibrant and synergistic mix of uses--potentially including corporations; companies in the healthcare, technology, research and education sectors; retailers; hospitality uses; and ancillary parking."

No residential

As was mentioned in the original announcement about the sale, the state will not be accepting proposals that include plans for residential use. The short reason cited in the webcast: "The state seeks a developmemnt plan that's consistent and in harmony with the balance of the campus."

The no-residential requirement will be in place for 20 years via a deed restriction or other similar restriction.

In this case, "no residential" means no single-family or multi-unit homes, no dorms, no boarding houses, no senior living facilities, or any "other structures intended to be occupied on a permanent or temporary basis and that include kitchen or cooking facilities." BUT: According to the RFP, hotels will be allowed.

From the webcast.


The site will be subject to city of Albany zoning. (The campus is zoned "commercial office district," the same as Patroon Creek across Washington Ave.) And the RFP mentions the Rezone Albany process (which could adjust the zoning) and Albany 2030.


The property taxes will be determined by the city and county of Albany. And the RFP mentions that the designated developer can work with orgs such as the Capital Region Economic Development Council, City of Albany IDA, and Capitalize Albany about identifying funding and incentives.

Bonus bit

The RFP mentions that the 10-mile radius around the Harriman campus site has 418,000, according to ESRI estimates. That's almost half of the whole population of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area.


what a shame they refuse to allow residential development -- they are literally turning away what could be a significant (and desperately needed) source of tax revenue simply to 'balance' the office campus vibe. i suppose they want to push development in other neighborhoods of albany instead, or perhaps don't want people near state offices for some reason (which offices are located there again?). i think the space would be a good candidate for mixed use housing, like we've see go up in some other very built-up nearby areas -- for example, retail on first floor, offices on second floor, residential on third floor (all paying tax revenue!). the state has some nerve imposing land use restrictions when they seized the land by eminent domain to begin with and have been tax-exempt all the while...

gb - with 50 years pilot (and nothing would work without pilot), residential neighborhood would probably be cash-negative for the city.

..."Be of quality and character that is aesthetically and functionally consistent with the existing offices"...

I love that this is one of the stipulations. Definitely want more of that ugly 70s square box "character"...

We surely must first hire a company to study how to rebrand this area.....how about "Hideous Stalinist suburban centrally planned clusterfuck--k"?.......

..."Be of quality and character that is aesthetically and functionally consistent with the existing offices"...

I love that this is one of the stipulations. Definitely want more of that ugly 70s square box "character"...

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