NEW BALTIMORE — A new warehouse and light industrial park could be coming to Route 9W in the town of New Baltimore.
Dan Hershberg of the Albany-based engineering firm Hershberg & Hershberg presented preliminary plans to the New Baltimore Planning Board on Thursday for a development that would construct five warehouses to store products and potentially light industrial work such as the assembling of products.
The company filing the application is U.S. Route 9W, LLC, with partners based in Long Island and Westchester County.
“The project is a 25-acre project on Route 9W right next to Kreitmeier Road,” Hershberg told the board. “The applicant would like to build a warehouse or light industrial park for up to 100,000 square feet worth of space.”
The site is currently vacant. The area is zoned for commercial use.
The five proposed warehouse buildings would be about 30 feet tall and would be built one or two at a time. No tenants have signed on to populate the warehouses at this time.
“My client does not have any tenants yet,” Hershberg said. “It’s very hard to get tenants on a project like this because we have to give them an idea of when we will be done with it and this process will take a while to go through to get approvals, building takes a while, so we are talking about occupancy in maybe 2024.”
Planning Board Chairman Robert Van Etten asked about what types of products would be stored in the warehouses.
“So at this point you don’t know what you would be warehousing?” Van Etten said.
The applicant does not know what products would be warehoused, but Hershberg assured the planning board they would not be toxic or dangerous chemicals.
“There are certain limits on what you can warehouse, for both fire protection and everything else,” Hershberg said. “There are certain things you wouldn’t allow.”
There has been interest in the site from several potential clients, but the project is too preliminary and a completion date is too far in the future for anyone to sign on, Hershberg said.
Access to both the CSX railroad line and the New York state Thruway drew the company to New Baltimore, Hershberg said.
The company is seeking an easement from a neighboring property owner to gain access to the railroad tracks for deliveries, but if that does not come through, the company is still interested in the project.
“This is also very convenient for truck traffic, for the Thruway — it’s not more than five minutes from the Thruway exit,” Hershberg said.
Resident Ellie Alfeld asked how the project will affect the neighborhood.
“How will this impact Kreitmeier Road and the people that live there?” Alfeld said.
Fifty feet of buffer trees would be retained and areas of the site would remain undeveloped, Hershberg said.
“Warehouses are a strange animal — sometimes they are very good neighbors, some are very active, but my guess is the great majority of these won’t be one tenant taking 20,000 square feet,” he said. “It will be four or five tenants taking smaller areas. Some are people who just need a storage space and they work out of it and make maybe one or two trips there to pick stuff up. The International Traffic Engineering group has taken a look at warehouse projects and they find that they are not big traffic generators.”
Relatively few employees work in warehouses and the number of trucks is a function of the types of tenants and the products they store, Hershberg said.
A couple of prospective tenants who have expressed interest in the project would store products that are sold in drug stores or supermarkets, Hershberg said. He declined to be more specific.
Planning board member Frank Orlando asked about hours of operation.
“We talked about normal business hours of maybe 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. We don’t want to be working there in the middle of the night,” Hershberg said.
If the warehouse obtains access to the CSX railroad for deliveries, the schedule should be limited, he added.
“I doubt very much we would need more than one or two train dropoffs in a week, Hershberg said. “My guess is probably one, if they arrange it properly.”
The project is a Type 1 action under New York state law and will require an Environmental Impact Statement under State Environmental Quality Review regulations, Hershberg said. The project will require approval from state agencies including the Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to impacts on less than a half acre of wetlands, he added.