A much-needed redevelopment project is underway in one local community.

The space is massive but what’s to come is an even bigger deal for the people who live and work in the Town of East Greenbush!

Since 2010, Kmart has closed more than 70 percent of its stores. The East Greenbush location along the Columbia Turnpike is one of them.

The building has sat vacant since 2014, just as many other buildings in the area. Town Supervisor Jack Conway says they’ve finally found a tenant.

“This is huge for the revitalization of Columbia Turnpike. Without someone of significance coming to this site, we had no chance.”

Bob Pasinella, the Executive Director for Rensselaer County’s Industrial Development Agency, says they had been exploring several different options.

“At one time Aldi’s was looking at that site and they ended up going a little lower down in Rensselaer,” Pasinella said.

Finally, they found the right fit. Turnpike Redevelopment Group is converting the 95,000 square foot space into a training facility for the state office of Family and Children Services.

“The initial investment to retrofit was over $14 million so the developer is putting a significant investment into that site.”

It’s the first of its kind in the state.

There will be about 25 employees, but hundreds of people from across the state will come in for training on a weekly basis, which will, in turn, bring an influx of new patrons for local businesses.

“This is one of the anchors of Columbia Turnpike and we need it anchored and now we have it so we’re very optimistic about the ramifications and ancillary benefits of this development,” Conway said.

“There’s a Renaissance happening along that corridor,” Pasinella said.

Officials are hoping construction will be complete by the spring of 2019.