By JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST AND CHRIS CHURCHILL, Staff writers
Last updated: 2:53 p.m., Monday, November 30, 2009
ALBANY -- A team led by Columbia Development Cos. has been chosen to redevelop the Harriman State Office Campus in Albany.
The surprise decision today by the board of the Harriman Research and Technology Development Corp. came more than a year after Columbia and rival development companies submitted proposals for the 330-acre campus near the University at Albany.
The state has long wanted to turn the campus, now home to state office buildings and workers, into a hotbed of private development. But those plans, first proposed in 2003, had seemed stalled -- until today.
Columbia Development is associated with BBL Construction Services, the prominent and politically connected construction firm.
For its Harriman plans, Columbia has partnered with some high-powered firms: Toll Brothers, the nation's largest home builder; M+W Zander, a German engineering company involved in building the Albany NanoTech complex and the GlobalFoundries plant in Malta; and Ocean Hospitalities, the New Hampshire company that last year purchased The Sagamore resort in Bolton Landing.
The Columbia plan beat out one by The Howard Cos. of Colonie, which proposed a redevelopment that would have included Choice Hotels, one of the world's largest hotel franchisers, and Street-Works LLC, a White Plains company that says it focuses on "the creation of mixed-use projects around great public places throughout the United States."
The Galesi Group of Rotterdam submitted a plan but withdrew it last September.
The Harriman board vote awarding development rights to Harriman was unanimous and came after a brief executive session. Board members did not discuss the Columbia plan or unveil what the proposal contains.