SCHENCTADY — For the past two years, the Transfinder building in the heart of downtown has stood empty as employees worked remotely due to the pandemic. Now the building is to be expanded.
The Planning Commission on Wednesday approved plans to demolish the vacant two-story Subway sandwich shop at 438 State St. to make way for a five-story, 10,000-square-foot expansion of Transfinder’s headquarters next door at 440 State St.
Transfinder CEO Antonio Civitella said the company has seen steady growth even during the pandemic and while it’s possible to keep employees away, it’s not something he wants.
“We can clearly work remotely very successfully, but I don’t believe in that,” he said. “I think we need to be able to meet face-to-face and work together – a lot of ideas came out of that building.”
Civitella said he plans to bring back 130 employees in the future and the expansion will help create a new feel that will foster a creative environment for workers.
Transfinder established its headquarters at 440 State St. about 10 years ago. The building’s modern design with balconies and a glass facade makes it easy to spot in a downtown area made up mostly of brick and stone buildings.
The expansion will be an extension of the current structure, which Civitella said receives regular compliments and allows visitors to view activity along the State Street corridor, putting the store and the city in a good light.
“It’s very nice, it’s gratifying to show that there’s a lot going on down State Street,” he said. We had people from all over the world and it’s beautiful.”
The project was one of a few approved by the Planning Commission last week and would dramatically change the look of downtown.
Plans for Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital to create a 6,600 square foot expansion have also been improved. The project would eliminate shared three- and four-person bedrooms and create a larger fitness facility with plenty of natural light and views of Rosa Road.
By returning employees to a central campus, Transfinder is bucking the growing trend of a growing number of tech companies embracing remote work, and a growing number of workers say they would rather work remotely.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 60% of workers with jobs that can be done remotely would continue to work from home even after the pandemic. A 54% increase over the same period in 2020.
Additionally, 78% of those who currently work from home all or most of their time want to continue doing so post-pandemic, up from 64% in 2020, according to the survey of 10,237 U.S. adults taken between March 24 and March 24, 2020 and January 30 . The error rate of the survey was 1.5 percentage points.
The survey also found that 64% of workers reported an easier work-life balance, but that 60% of workers felt less connected to co-workers.
Meanwhile, the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority will consider providing Transfinder with $150,000 to cover the cost of demolishing the building at 438 State St.
“We are excited to be involved in this project and very proud of the entire Transfinder team,” said Ray Gillen, Chairman of Metroplex. “The employment base and the sales and revenues continue to grow every year. It’s a real Schenectady success story.”
Contact Reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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