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A first floor space toward the entrance, planned as a waiting room for the pub.

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View from first floor front window.

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First floor ceiling. They're hoping to preserve the tiles.

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The old hotel ballroom. The O'Brien's are planning to knock out the walls in the back of the room -- which aren't original -- and open the space up. It will serve as the dining room for O'Brien's Public House.

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One of the spaces to be opened to ballroom.

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The building is full of left over details from its previous life as a hotel. These were the old hooks for room keys.

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Numbers in the old elevator.

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Second floor space, which the O'Briens are planning to use as an apartment for themselves. The mantels were all ripped out somewhere along the way by salvagers.

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Looking toward to the back building addition, the tentative plan for which is to eventually turn into self storage.

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This part of the building has been haphazardly demolished. But the O'Briens say the building's iron structure is solid.

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They're hoping many of the floors just need a good cleaning and refinishing.

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View out a back window. That's the statue in Monument Square.

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The Trojan Taproom space in the basement.

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View out the front taproom window.

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Terry, daughter Ali, Donald. Their son DJ is also involved.

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Exterior of the back building.

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From the alley.

A new life planned for the Trojan Hotel

trojan hotel building exterior

The Trojan Hotel building in Troy -- part of which has stood on 3rd Street downtown since the 1800s -- was sold this week. The new owners: Terry and Donald O'Brien, who have a lot of plans for the building -- including a pub, a bar, and an apartment for themselves.

We were invited to have a look at the building today, so we stopped by to take some photos of the historic building and talk for a few minutes with the O'Briens.

There are large-format photos above -- scroll up.


Terry O'Brien, daughter Ali O'Brien, Donald O'Brien.

Terry and Donald O'Brien -- along with their kids, Ali and DJ -- recently closed O'Brien's Public House in Lansingburgh after an almost two-year run. The pub's building was sold, and the O'Briens decided it was a good time to move both their business and residence downtown. (Their home in Lansinburgh was badly damaged in a fire last September.)

So why pick a building that's been vacant for 10 years, and needs a lot of work?

"It means a lot to us," Terry explained today while standing in the hotel's former ballroom, which is slated to become the dining room for the new O'Briens Public House. Donald's parents first met at the Trojan, had their wedding reception there, and a 25th anniversary party. And his godparents owned the building for a while in the 1960s. Terry continued: "We love this place. It feels like home."

The O'Briens say they paid $100k cash for the building, and figure the whole project will cost $500k -- a tab that will have to include a lot of sweat equity.

The plan is to renovate in phases. The first stage will be getting the first floor rehabbed and ready to open as the pub this fall. After that, it'll be getting the basement bar fixed up to serve as the Trojan Tap Room. Then they'll focus on the upper two floors of the front building for apartment space for themselves. And sometime after that, they'll focus on the back building -- which dates to 1915 and includes the former hotel rooms. They've been talk with local developer Jeff Buell about maybe turning that space into self storage for Troy's growing downtown apartment population.

It's going to be a big project. The O'Briens are confident the building has solid bones -- iron, to be exact. But it's going to need a lot of love to deal with the effects of years of neglect, and some rather haphazard previous demolition and salvage efforts (example: all the cast iron radiators were ripped out).

"Anyone who takes on any rehab project like this... there's a certain amount of insanity that, for lack of a better term, that comes with it," Donald said today.

"But it's worth it in the end," Tammy added. "Because it's our future. It's our children's future. Hopefully their children's future. It's something you can keep. Instead of having this property call to the demolition ball, we're bringing life back into Troy."

The Trojan Hotel project is one of a handful of recently announced efforts to transform vacant, rundown properties in downtown Troy into productive new uses. Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, who created the Confectionery, are working on a reno of 207 Broadway -- just across a parking lot from the Trojan -- that includes a small grocery store. Buell and Chris Colwell are developing nearby 9 First Street -- vacant since the 1990s -- into lofts.

"You always here people say when something's demolished or something's run down so bad, 'Oh, what a shame that happened,'" said Donald. "Well, the only way to stop it is to jump in, purchase something, and invest your time and your money and make it productive again."

And that's what the O'Briens hope to do at the Trojan Hotel. They have their life's savings riding on it.

Said Terry: "Our heart's always been in Troy. We've lived in Troy all our lives. We were born here. We chose to raise our children here. Our heart is here. We love Troy."
____

The O'Briens have started a renovation fund for the building, to which people can contribute. Sort of like with Kickstarter, there are rewards for contributing -- from stickers, to a spot in "Mug Club" planned for the hotel's old key rack, to parties.

Find It

O'Brien's Public House planned (former Trojan Hotel)
43 Third St
Troy, NY 12180

Comments

Anthony Prezio, who used to work at the Taproom way back when, wrote an original musical called "An Evening at the Trojan Hotel Bar." I posted three of the songs, professionally recorded, on this web page:

http://duncancrary.com/clients/trojanhotel.html

The music is actually very good! I guess musical talent runs in the family, since Tony is Sean Rowe's Uncle. They even performed some of these songs together, way back when.

My favorite song is "5 More Hours."

oh sure, i move away and one week later someone finally plans to do something cool with the trojan hotel. just my luck. i look forward to visiting in the future !

"Developer Jeff Buell?"

Don't you need to actually...i don't know... "develop" something in order to be a developer?

The guy's good at getting his name in the paper, but as far as I can tell all of his projects are low-budget/no-budget longshots with other peoples money. Show me the baby.

If there are 2 people who can pull this off, it' s the O'Briens! What a great idea kin a fantastic spot. I too have a history with the place & God willing will attend the opening. Quick story...in the day......late on Friday afternoons Joe from predigar's bakery in Green Island would drop off still warm sharp cheese bread at the bar, many patrons would just tear their loaf apart and enjoy it with a beer right at the bar. It was a great after work spot & will be again.

This will be an amazing project, and I wish them the best of luck.

Recently the Indigo Salon moved from river street to 2nd street (across from the Historical Society). The amount of work they put in, and the details they uncovered (are still uncovering) are remarkable. For example, a covered up skylight (seems like a theme...), gorgeous marble and wood that had been painted over, and 10 foot high ceilings and windows that has been covered by drop ceilings in the 50s. Would make for another great AOA story...

This is really awesome! I've walked by that building many, many times and have admired it and wondered about it every time. I'm psyched that people are restoring it and even more excited that it's people who have a historical love for the place. Kudos and can't wait to see it!

Jeff Buell is the man. He was working for the city of Troy before he decided to take the jump into his own projects. He bought a property on 1st street that he's currently aggressively refurbishing with a business partner. Why ya gatta hate fella?


I'm so excited for the O'Briens. Not only will they put out some of the best Irish food in the area, but where else can you get a pint poured by one of the best Guinness pourers in the country!

Fabulous! Love to see new life given to deteriorating buildings!

This seems promising after years of anticipating what might be done here. I like that story idea on the new Indigo Salon in comments....

I think the term "developer" is stretching, but he does develop alot of ideas. Don't forget the Marina stuff too, etc. More like Jeff Buell is trying to develop Jeff Buell, to be a politician perhaps. He was a young writer for The Record with PR skills, who wrote the right things to push Harry T. getting elected as mayor and magically got on his City staff for years, meeting and cozying up to "all the right people" as he once mentioned---Not everyone reads the newspaper, but all the right people do. It's the game to play, all the hungry ones do it. I'm mixed like/dislike. He's definitely positioning himself.

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