CARS HOMES JOBS

Project aims to revitalize buildings

Group seeks balance between preservation, economic development

Thursday, July 17, 2014
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The Clock Tower Complex on Prospect Street in Amsterdam is seen Wednesday.
The Clock Tower Complex on Prospect Street in Amsterdam is seen Wednesday.

— The owners of five area industrial buildings will soon learn how their structures could be reused or more fully used with the help of a preservation organization.

The Preservation League of New York State on Wednesday said it is working with Troy Architectural Program to put together plans to develop and rehabilitate the old industrial buildings into either commercial or business spaces.

The five buildings targeted for the Industrial Heritage Reuse Project include two in Troy and one each in Albany, Schenectady and Amsterdam.

In Schenectady, the organization is helping put together a plan for the former Grossman’s Bargain Outlet at 1410 Erie Blvd. In Amsterdam, it’s a plan to more fully use the Sanford Clock Tower building at 37 Prospect St.

Erin Tobin, a league regional director, said the program will provide an evaluation of the scope of work needed for different uses, along with estimated costs to get the buildings there.

The work is backed by funds from the J.M. Kaplan Fund and additional support from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

The goal, Tobin said, is to keep the old industrial buildings and get them revitalized.

“We want to build that bridge between preservation and local economic development,” Tobin said. “The vacant industrial buildings are valuable assets.”

At the Sanford Clock Tower building, two floors are already being used by businesses. Others are either used for storage or are vacant.

One of the businesses in the building is Sun Tzu, an energy drink maker. The company has its headquarters there and owns the building.

Company president Bretton McCarthy said the project could help determine whether the building can be placed on the National Historic Register, a daunting process if done alone. That designation would open up crucial tax incentives.

The building formerly was part of Sanford Carpet Mills and was the headquarters for Coleco.

The project is also expected to result in conceptual drawings on how unused space could be utilized. Those would be good to show potential tenants, McCarthy said.

“It’s a huge help, really,” he said.

The former Grossman’s in Schenectady was once a railroad freight building. It has sat vacant since Grossman’s moved to a new location a few years ago.

It is owned by Legere Restorations. A Legere official working on the project could not be reached Wednesday.

Tobin said Legere is looking to lease the building. She noted that Erie Boulevard has seen a lot of investment in recent years.

She said breathing new life into the former freight building will connect the future boulevard with its industrial history.

The other buildings included in the project are: Rodger’s Liquor Building, 960 Broadway, Albany; the Mooradian’s Building, 599 River St., Troy; and Lindy’s Hardware, 285 2nd St., Troy.

 
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