Developer acquires 17 acres for apartments, townhomes in Saratoga County

Robin K. Cooper, Reporter
Albany Business Review

“A Rochester real estate developer has purchased 17 acres of land on Route 67 in Ballston, New York, where the company is seeking approval to build 140 apartments.

Conifer Realty, which has developed more than 220 apartment communities in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, acquired property along the heavily traveled corridor in Saratoga County for $2.47 million. The deal closed July 1.

The land was purchased from Hal Schultz, a real estate developer who has been working to develop and market the property since 2007. That was two years before computer chip maker GlobalFoundries began building its $15 billion factory less than 10 minutes away.

Schultz, who ran H.R. Schultz Inc. construction company in Ballston until retiring two years ago, started acquiring property on Route 67 near East Line Road in 1978.

He grew up on Wolf Road in Colonie, one of the Albany region’s busiest commercial corridors, and he saw potential decades ago for residential and commercial development along Route 67, which carries an average of 16,000 vehicles per day between Route 50 in Ballston to Exit 12 of the Interstate 87 Northway in Malta.

Schultz said his real estate agent, Dean Taylor of Re/Max in Clifton Park, identified Conifer Realty as a potential buyer and developer of an area where Schultz had envisioned investing $35 million to construct apartments, townhomes, offices and retail space.

Taylor said he worked with engineers to come up with a new plan that focused more heavily on residential development because the market is stronger.

“The commercial demand really hasn’t hit there yet,” Taylor said.

After the vision for the property was redesigned, Taylor said he had a contract within about six weeks of receiving the listing.

“The market is ready,” said Gerald Magoolaghan, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty. Magoolaghan handled the purchase for Conifer, a company he has worked with for the past three years.

Magoolaghan said Conifer plans to build “workforce” apartments at the Route 67 site. The project will focus on attracting tenants who earn less than $60,000 a year. Rents are expected to cost between $700 and $1,100 a month.

Conifer retained Saratoga Springs real estate development attorney Matthew Jones of The Jones Firm about a year ago to seek approval from the town of Ballston to subdivide Schultz’s property. Jones said Conifer has mapped out a multi-phase plan to develop the property.

The first two phases could include 140 apartments. Plans call for the construction of seven buildings.

The apartment development is awaiting site plan approval from the Ballston planning board. The project is scheduled to be discussed at the planning board’s July meeting. Once the project is approved, Jones said the developer will prepare to start construction.

“They are anxious to get started,” Jones said.

Schultz still owns property off Route 67 where he has received approval to build a 30,000-square-foot building and a 15,000-square-foot building. He is not yet sure if he will sell those properties or develop them himself.

Conifer Realty has longterm plans for the property that could include adding townhouses and commercial space. But the company is not currently seeking permission to build those portions of the project.

Conifer’s portfolio includes more than 14,600 multi-family housing units, with projects in Rexford, Corinth and Ravena. Magoolaghan said Conifer Realty has developed a solid reputation because the company develops and manages its properties. The company also reinvests in its properties to ensure they maintain their quality.”