COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — When it was announced the Cohoes Housing Authority was looking to sell the Saratoga Sites property, which is adjacent to the Norlite facility, only two bidders appeared: the city of Cohoes and Norlite. Which raised a lot of eyebrows in Saratoga Sites.
The city announced they had sent a letter to CHA expressing interest in purchasing the property, but so has Norlite. Behan Communications handles public relations for Norlite. “CHA invited Norlite to offer a proposal as an adjoining property owner. Norlite offered a proposal to assume ownership once the Housing Authority helps residents move to new homes,” said Vice President, Bill Callen.
“It would be a stab in the back if we were told Norlite was buying this property,” says Joseph Ritchie, a resident of Saratoga Sites for 20-years. “Norlite is the reason we are leaving. The toxic dust, the mercury. The constant emissions. I can’t even get my mail sometimes because of how bad the smell is.”
Recently, the Norlite facility was ordered to “cease and desist” all actions relating to the release of “fugitive dust particles” into the air.
When Saratoga Sites closes, which no date has been set, 70 families will be relocated by the Cohoes Housing Authority. Some residents, like Ritchie wonder if Norlite is the problem, why does he have to move, saying, “I think the confounding variable here is Norlite. If Norlite is out of the picture, we do not have to worry about this nightmare anymore.”
Cohoes has offered to pay $35,000 plus $600,000 to demolish the apartments. Norlite has offered $45,000 above the appraised value as well as the cost of demolition, removal of buildings, and other debris. If the city gets to purchase the property, they said they plan to get it shovel ready for “the best and highest industrial use at the appropriate time.”
Norlite said they would use the land to build a state-of-the-art research facility to develop waste recycling, reuse, and energy recovery technologies. “This research center would serve our customers and our related businesses in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We also look forward to partnering with BOCES and local schools to use the lab to provide hands-on learning opportunities for STEM students,” the company said.
As of Tuesday evening, CHA says they have partnered with a relocation assistance firm to help move all 70 families. The Chair of the Board of the Cohoes Housing Authority Commissioners Mark Pascale tells News10 a vote is scheduled for February 28 at 5 o’clock in the evening to determine who will be the property’s new owner.