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Saratoga County

Zoning board approves RPI fraternity request to buy former church

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Albany/HV: Zoning board approves RPI fraternity request to buy former church
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TROY, N.Y. -- Troy's City Zoning Board has approved a measure that allows an RPI fraternity to move in to what used to be the First Baptist Church in Troy.

The school's chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta's Tau Nu fraternity wants to renovate the Third Street church site and its attached three story school building into a 50 bed fraternity house.

Some members of the community are worried what a fraternity house would do to the neighborhood.

Supporters of the move say the students will be doing the city a service by taking over the church.

“Well it’s a building that’s 175 years old. That's a historic building. They're willing to take on the obligation of maintaining the building and it's still a dollar and cents item. That has to be worked out as to whether or not they can put it all together and keep it,” said F. Redmond Griffin, an attorney for RPI.

“I don't know that they're going to be bad neighbors. I don't know that they're going to damage the neighborhood at all, but I think that in terms of people who want to purchase a property or rent in the immediate vicinity, there is a stigma,” said Michael Avent, who owns a building across from the church.

This is not the first time RPI has sought out space that used to be a church. Back in 2009, the school purchased the St. Francis De Sales church and rectory from the Albany diocese and turned that into a frat house.

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