GLENS FALLS — The city is poised to award a multi-million contract to construct a marketplace along South Street in the coming weeks, the latest sign that the long-awaited Downtown Revitalization Initiative is moving forward after years of seemingly no activity.
A working group tasked with overseeing the implementation of the various projects associated with the DRI is in the process of sorting through 12 proposals received by the city to construct the marketplace.
A decision on which engineering firm will be awarded the project is expected to be made by next month, according to Mayor Dan Hall.
“We will probably bring in three or four of those people next week and then make a decision the following week,” he said.
Hall said it’s unclear when construction on the marketplace will begin until an engineering firm is selected, but added he’s hopeful the project can be completed sometime next year.
“We have different timelines from different companies, so we’ll know more about that when we choose the company,” he said.
The South Street marketplace is the centerpiece of the city’s DRI, a $10 million state grant awarded to the city in 2017 to rehab portions of its downtown. The marketplace is expected to cost around $5 million.
But work along the South Street corridor seemingly came to a halt in recent years as the state worked to complete a rigorous environmental review needed for the project to move forward.
The project was delayed again last year following the death of Ed Bartholomew, the city’s longtime director of economic development who oversaw the implementation of the DRI.
But Hall said things are back on track and various components associated with the DRI are either nearing completion or expected to be bidded out in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, the city issued request for proposals to rehab a pair of city-owned buildings at 45 South St. and 36 Elm St. that sit adjacent to where the marketplace will eventually stand.
The buildings are currently vacant, but the plan it to restore them for commercial mixed-use, according to the DRI plan.
The city also began accepting proposals to construct a multi-story parking garage at he South Street parking lot at 25-33 South St and to build a mix-used building on the same lot.
Hall said the city is also close to issuing bids for a series of infrastructure upgrades along Park and Exchange streets and is getting closer to completing a citywide arts trail.
The city is also seeking entrepreneurs to apply for a deferred loan program aimed at attracting new development within the DRI target area.
Hall said only two people have applied for the program so far, but he expects to receive four or five more applications ahead of the March 12 deadline.
“We’re making some progress. It’s taken a while, but now I think we’re in at least third gear,” Hall said.
Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.