Troy development project: Proctors

Tyler McNeil

Creative Editor

Dust that covered the sealed gates of an abandoned theatre in Downtown Troy for over 35 years have faded.

The second floor and parts of the first floor of Proctor’s Theater (not to be confused with Proctor’s Arts Complex of Schenectady) have been leased to the Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting on Nov. 20. The rest of the first floor and three floors combining 15,000 feet above the chamber are currently unleased.

Proctor’s turned 100 years old on Nov. 23 this year.

“We’re deep into negotiations with people on those floors and I’m hoping over the next year to say that this building is going be at least leased and ready for occupancy. We’re feeling really good about filling this building,” said Michael Yevoli, current director of development and planning at Columbia Development Companies and former Albany commissioner.

The renovation process comprised of halting deterioration of the roof, water infiltration, and remediating hazardous materials out of the unoccupied space. Theatre remediation ended the first week of September this year when the Chamber of Commerce officially moved into the building.

One of Troy’s many one way streets, Fourth Street was nearly cut in half by construction and asbestos removal during the project, limiting the flow of traffic and noise pollution until its completion.

“Sometimes they’ll need to take a bit of inconvenience for the final product,” Monica Kurzejeski, economic development coordinator of the city of Troy, said about neighboring businesses reacting to construction of the project.

Aside from physical disturbances, Kurzejeski said the project has captured the neighborhood’s attention. “Because we are in such a mood of upswing, people are thrilled with the fact that this building is being renovated,” she said.

The 1914-built theatre has been abandoned since closing in 1977 due to suburbanization limiting business, according to Kurzejeski.

The Proctor’s theatre space itself is not ready for occupancy, according to Yevoli.

“If someone was willing to do something with it, we’d love to let them do it. It would still be our liability at the end of the day”, said Yevoli.

“This one is too close to the ones we already have so why put more strain on the arts and cultural scene [in downtown Troy],” said Yevoli. He mentioned that there was little need for a theatre with theatres in both downtown Albany and Schenectady. He said that renovation of the theatre could cost five to ten million dollars.

RPI bought the property in 2004, hoping to revitalize the space to be converted into a high-end hotel. In 2010, the space was rumored to be the next city hall site until Rosamilia signed a ten-year lease with the Hedley building.

Columbia Development Companies bought Proctor’s, along with a neighboring building known as the Chasan in 2011. Former Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy announced the space’s lease to Columbia Development Companies, LLC on Feb. 27 of last year. A combined $2.9 million grant was made to the Proctor’s office space and Chasan building renovations through the Restore-NY program.

The Proctor’s investment will total $7.3 million. The Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce confirmed a ten-year contract with the Albany-based company after announcing its move in February.


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