by Lisa Balschunat
The COVID-19 ramifications and restrictions may have delayed commercial construction projects in the region, but Malta-based MLB Construction Services has been busy.
The company recently completed or is nearing completion on five projects in the area, totaling about $56 million.
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), located within Saratoga Springs State Park, experienced a makeover on a grand scale when MLB got involved 12 months ago.
“This design-build project was true collaboration at its best,” James Dawsey, company president, said.
It involved demolition of the concession and restroom facilities and construction of concession areas, new restrooms, a VIP area in the new two-story building, room for small indoor performances and an outdoor pavilion.
About 75 workers constructed the new additions and the company was aware of the many people who to walk, jog and bike in the park/
“When COVID-19 hit, we were diligent to be in compliance and astutely aware that we were working in a public place that was being used more than normal this spring,” he said. “Everyone did their best under unique circumstances … keeping the end users in the forefront of our minds.”
One MLB project that was halted during the shutdown was renovating Saratoga Springs City Hall. It was severely damaged by fire in 2018. MLB has strived to match or exceed the 19th century architectural style during the renovations.
“The city has been very happy with the results,” Dawsey said. “The right craftsmen were on the job at every turn. The four-story renovation was a big undertaking.”
Over the past two decades, MLB has worked on over 70 projects in the city of Saratoga Springs.
One project was at Saratoga Race Course.
“This month we are celebrating the one year anniversary of completing a $25 million project is less than eight months,” Dawsey said. “We built through the rain, ice, sub-zero temperatures. Then in the spring, we worked around a million dollar horses’ morning workouts.”
The MLB crew worked 12-hour days for months on this project, he said.
The original NYRA construction schedule proposed a two and a half year build, but it turned into an eight-month project.
Another historic renovation project in the works for MLB is the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany. The firm is working in a 120-year-old building that housed the Nabisco Baking Co. The three-story renovation was deemed nonessential during the COVID-19 shutdown, but has kept pace to be completed by Aug. 31.
“We built a new stage, rehearsal rooms, a black box theatre, a paint booth and props room. Everyone is excited about this project,”Dawsey said.
Dawsey said he sees “Capital Rep” as a key piece of development for the south end of Albany.
Most recently, MLB’s Phase 1A of a six-year effort for Skidmore College’s Center for Integrated Sciences reached completion and Phase 1B is underway.
The $29 million project includes expanding existing buildings, constructing additions to the Dana Science building, demolishing an existing structure and making renovations to others. The four-phase project is expected to completed in May 2024.
The company was recently awarded a $5.43 million contract by the Port of Albany Commission to build a 60,000-square-foot warehouse to handle the influx of wood pulp shipments.
Dawsey said the project is bringing 50 to 60 workers on the job site, including subcontractors. It began in June and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31.
“Digging in Albany is always interesting,” Dawsey said. “We never know what we’ll find … This time, we found molasses lines for grain silos. We followed all of the safety precautions to remove them, and started the project weeks ago. It’s a straight-forward project—a rectangle construction that is needed quickly.”
Port of Albany houses grain, forest products, cocoa, beans, salt, molasses, scrap iron, steel and wind energy products. Molasses has been a key import since the mid-1940s, used as a supplement in animal feed.
MLB has been in operation since 1947, with its headquarters in Malta and an office in Apex, North Carolina.
by Lisa Balschunat