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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Schenectady’s Stadium Golf Club may be sold for development – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY – A deal announced Thursday could result in the stadium golf club being converted into a mixed-use commercial/industrial park.

Third-generation owner Greg Heinel and developer Scannell Properties said the 2022 golf season would continue as normal but both would see growth opportunities once the season was over.

An important precondition would be to re-zon the site from multifamily residential to commercial, a long and elaborate process that would have to be successfully adopted in both the city of Schenectady and the city of Rotterdam.

Heinel said he is working on a deadline for the entire season. Once it makes commitments and starts signing contracts for operations the following year, no development will begin until the next season is complete.

Heinel said there could be more golf seasons next year if sales don’t happen quickly.

“I’ve been hearing rumors that it’s sold out,” he said. “It’s not sold, it’s not a deal. There are many reasons it might not happen, but if it does, we’ll move on.”

Scannell’s development manager, Zachary Zweifer, said reasoning is important. The project may involve some combination of retail, commercial, light industrial and research/development, but Scannell will not build housing on site.

Without a timetable set or details about the structures to be built, Scannell can’t predict what tenants might be interested in, Zweifer said, but with full utilities on site, it would be suitable for many industry sectors.

He said there is excellent access from Route 7 and Interstate 890, and excellent visibility for a large number of passing motorists. Also, this is a huge site.

“One hundred and sixteen acres in a place this urban doesn’t come along very often,” Zweifer said. “This is an exciting opportunity for us.”

Stadium Golf Club today is consistently one of the busiest golf courses in the region for a number of reasons.

It’s easy to get and relatively easy to play. Without any bunkers, a round of golf in the stadium moves faster, and more people can cycle. Also, sandy soil gets washed away quickly after rain.

“It’s not cruel to the average golfer,” Heinel said. “Obviously there are chances to miss the ball but not many. I call this a user friendly course. And we have an incredible workforce – we wouldn’t have lived 56 years if we didn’t have great people.”

The original nine-hole stadium golf course was built next to McNeery Stadium after the minor-league Schenectady Blue Jays stopped playing there in 1957.

Greg Heinel’s grandfather Edmund bought it in 1965, the year Greg was born, and it has been a family operation ever since.

Greg’s father, Roger, stopped working at the service station near Edmond and started working on the golf course in 1973.

Greg grew up in the stadium, working the golf course and riding dirt bikes on adjacent undeveloped land, owned by Edmunds until the family built another nine holes on it. By the late 1980s 18 holes had to be expanded as the family was working on their own; Greg’s uncle Douglas did the design work.

Greg’s mother Barbara also worked at the stadium. After Roger and Barbara passed away, Greg and his brother Gary ran the stadium.

Now Greg and his wife are Michelle. A motorcycle accident claimed Gary in 2014.

Haenel said he could be running the golf course over the next 20 years, and is buying replacement equipment so that he can continue beyond 2022 if needed.

But time is catching up with him, and he is ready to sell.

“I’m 56, I have a bulging disc, but I’m still cutting trees and digging trenches in there,” he said. “The body is starting to fail. At some point, I have to start looking to the future.”

Scannell and Haenel held long discussions before arriving at the deal announced on Thursday.

Since 1990, Indianapolis-based Scannell has completed more than 470 development projects totaling 130 million square feet, among them an Amazon distribution facility in Rensselaer County. Possible future projects in the area include more warehouse space nearby in Rensselaer County and a major distribution center in Malta.

Heinel said he searched for Scannell’s work elsewhere and found it top-rate.

“I wouldn’t do anything with them if I didn’t think it would be of the utmost quality,” he said. “If they decide to do so, it will be of huge benefit to the community.”

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Categories: Business News Schenectady County

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