Troy Story: Renovations and Entrepreneurial Spirit turn Troy into Ideal Urban Center: An American Brigadoon in Upstate New York
Once upon a time Teakwood Builders was hired by real estate developer Sam Judge to renovate The Hudson, his riverside apartment and penthouse building in Troy, NY. From the roof of The Hudson, the Teakwood team observed all sorts of “it-factor” happening in a city which they had grown up knowing as “The Troylet.” If you have a nose for uncovering cool and upcoming hotspots, or you read this NY Daily News article chances are you probably already know that Troy, NY is getting its groove on.
Monica Kurzejeski, Troy’s economic development coordinator, reported that 35 new businesses opened in Troy last year with just as many set to open this year. Lucas Confectionery, the uber hip wine bar/restaurant run by Trojan restaurateurs Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, is being expanded. They recently purchased and refurbished Clark House next door and are adding an outdoor patio, grocery store, second restaurant, and apartments above. The Frear Cash Bazaar , once the largest department store in upstate New York (clearing one million dollars in the 1880’s), again houses retail attractions. Eko-Logic, a business that repurposes and recycles cashmere clothing scraps into couture garments, Modern on the Hudson, specializing in mid-century furnishings, and Trojan Horse Antiques all recently opened their doors in this storied space. Combined with the winter Farmer’s Market, held in the adjacent Atrium building, these businesses promise more foot traffic to 3rd Street.
Sam Judge, who owns 10 buildings in Troy, plans to continue working with Teakwood Builders on The Hudson, his riverside luxury apartment building with its sweeping river views. Sequence Development recently acquired a historic brownstone from a city improvement non-profit. Sequence has already begun renovations on this historic bookbinding and print shop into high-end apartments, all of which are rented before the project has been completed. First Colombia, one of the largest commercial real estate development companies in the Capital Region, successfully renovated the Hedley Building into high tech office and now boasts City Hall as one of its tenants. First Columbia has plans to redevelop 25 city blocks surrounding Hedley Park Place and Flanigan Square. “The Hedley District” will showcase dozens of new office and condominium buildings, a seven story hotel and riverside promenade. The mayor has just accepted a development proposal for the prominent One Monument Square address, site of the old City Hall, and concept drawings have been newly released (and already are the center of much debate). See our next blog “Troy Story 2” for comments on these newly released concept drawings.
If the entrepreneurial interest and serious money is pouring into Troy, there is much buzz about its success and potential getting out as well. First Columbia recently hired Duncan Crary, author, architectural traditionalist, communications wiz, and Troy resident to market Troy not just as a unique tourist destination but also as a textured and active “urban center.” Crary depicts Troy as a place that is organically drawing people out of the dislocated suburbs and into a more relevant urban fabric. His podcast conversations with New Urbanist and Saratogian James Kunstler on urban design and Troy have gained him international following. Crary launched a new series of essays and podcasts “A Small American City” that focus on Troy as an urban organism, a walk-able, living city–“an American brigadoon.” Crary’s lyrical tellings on Troy are both convincing and inspiring. The Enjoy Troy campaign was launched in the same authentic grassroots spirit by other Troy residents.
The plot is thickening for Troy, and this is only the introduction. Begin writing your own Troy Story at one of Teakwood’s Recommendations:
Lucas Confectionary is a hands-down-go-there kind of place
The Placid Baker for hearty breads and sweet treats
The Illium Cafe sometimes projects black and white films for a romantic backdrop