A Tale of Two Developers

It was interesting to hear about how the Key Bank building is going to be converted into a mixed use building. From the Recorder:

The former KeyBank building at 29 East Main St. is proposed to be renovated by Cranesville Properties, LLC. Joseph Tesiero, property manager, said the company’s plan is to have four upscale one- to two-bedroom apartments per floor from the third to eighth floors. The second floor could be used to develop a townhouse. The first floor, Tesiero said is planned to house a microbrewery that would serve alcohol on-site.

I thought this was interesting in light of the Chalmers fiasco so let’s take a look at the two projects.

Chalmers versus Key Bank Development

Chalmers versus Key Bank Development

Fascinating, isn’t it?

With Chalmers we get all kinds of political pushback; all kinds of uproar about how such a project will never , ever work in Amsterdam; all kinds of absolute certainty from the local media — newspapers and radio– on how it is a boondoggle and how dare a developer take public money to fund private development to — gasp– make profits. And of course, as it is Amsterdam, rumors, innuendos and blatant lies on the project as a whole to discredit it fueled , again, by our local media and amplified by the abundant naysayers and doubters and do-nothings.

Fascinating that none of the Chalmers demolitionists and sages of economic development are not vocally discrediting this effort, especially our local media pundits who pulled no punches in discrediting such development in the city.

Of course, Chalmers required demolition and as there is no higher or no more noble goal than demolishing stuff, I should be hardly surprised that this might be a factor. You know, better to knock something down than take a chance on a $20 to $30 million residential development. But still, the projects overall have very much in common, yet the community responses differ so wildly.

So come on guys and gals, why so mum on Key Bank repurposing?

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The Thing That Never Ever Could Ever Happen Here Happens Everywhere Else Except , of Course, Here

And the Chalmers demolitionists are proven wholly wrong yet again (from Daily Gazette): 

Downtown living seems to be the wave of the future for a growing population of young adults who are putting off marriage and kids, and consequently, the desire for backyards and suburban life. Cities with well-developed downtowns, such as Saratoga Springs, have been attracting people to live in or at least close to the place where they already work, dine, shop and hang out.[snip]

The townhouse development where Jordan lives consists of eight three-story units with attached single-car garages, 1,300 square feet of living space and rent around $1,500 a month. This is just the first phase in a multiphase development that will eventually include 14 more apartments and 3,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Maddalone said this phase of the project should kick off in July.

Remember kids: parking lots and wrecking balls , and lawn chairs, are the requisite metrics for successful development here.

But don’t expect our pundit and editorial and “protectors of the taxpayers” classes so keen on demolition and the implausibility of anyone paying more than $1000 a month in rent to face any self-examination or accountability for their utter failure to reposition or repurpose the city. While all around us, a number of cities move ahead, we certainly can do anything but. Indeed, the reality here is that if you’re spectacularly wrong on your economic development strategies year after year and decade after decade, you gain influence versus lessening influence.

If you want to know why our taxes are so high and why no development happens here, just read this story.