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Giovanni Palladino, director of design and architecture for Kirchhoff Companies, said during the presentation that architect Alex Gorlin designed the building with the idea of creating a modern interpretation of the pre-existing architectural style around the square, specifically drawing inspiration for the window pattern from the Cannon Building.

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The colonnade that's been added to the design to connect the southern end of the building to the pre-existing building line.

1MonumentSquare 2015-10-28 site plan color presentation

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The landscaping plan highlights the green roof tier added to the back of the podium.

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Palladino said the color of the building has not yet been definitively set.

The 1 Monument Square project and its opponents

1MonumentSquare 2015-10-28 Broadway view

One of the latest renderings.

The development team backing the 1 Monument Square project presented the latest iteration of the mixed-use building to the Troy planning commission Wednesday night. The presentation included new renderings, a somewhat reconfigured plan for the river side of the building, and some discussion about what the space that has been set aside for the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market might (or might not) be.

And then things took a bit of a turn toward the dramatic. An attorney representing a group called We Care About the Square stood up for the first public comment of the night and raised the possibility of legal action if the project moves forward.

Plans and renderings

Some of the latest plans and renderings are above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

What's now in the plan

Among the recently added elements to the plan:

+ The proposed building sits on a podium that's at street level, and the plan now proposes that river side of the podium have a mid-level green roof between the podium and ground level.

+ The parking area below has been configured to allow through traffic on Front Street.

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+ A colonnade has been added on the front side of the southern end of the parcel to connect the project to the building line along River Street to the south.

+ The space dedicated to the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market appears to be in flux. Jeff Kane of Kirchoff Companies, which is developing the project with Sequence Development, said the amount of street level retail space set aside for the market is currently "undefined" because the market is assessing its needs in light of a successful outdoor season this year. There was also brief discussion about the possibility of the market occupying a second floor of retail space -- or of some other retail tenant ultimately ending up in the space.

+ And just a recap of some of overall details: 75-80 residential units (depends on unit configurations), 84 parking spaces, street level retail and restaurant space, $24.3 million cost.

The opposition

1MonumentSquare 2015-10-28 Javid Afzali speaking

This project has caught a notable amount of criticism over the past year, much of it about the appearance of the proposed building and how its shape and positioning relate to the surrounding area.

But maybe the most significant criticism of late is the allegation that Troy isn't getting what it thought it was getting -- that the current plan differs too much from the plan used to win the city's selection process for developers. That initial plan included two separate buildings split by a plaza that opened to the riverfront, along with more square footage and more parking. (The developers have said complications of the site -- including a water main and problems with soil -- necessitated the changes to the plan.) The allegation from these critics is that the experience has been a "bait and switch."

These criticism are now being focused through a group called We Care About the Square, which describes itself as "a collection of residents and business owners who are interested in the development of 1 Monument Square." Its attorney -- Javid Afzali of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna -- was the one who stood up during the public comment period and raised the possibility of legal action. He alleged there have been problems with the city's review process and a lack of responsiveness to public criticism. And what would his clients like to see happen now?

"The want the project re-bid to actually put bids out there for developers to put actual, real, feasible projects on the table so the city has a choice," Afzali said outside the meeting. "Here what we have is a project that was Bid A, now is Bid B, and it shut out other competitors. And it requires re-letting of that contract."

Afzali did not outright threaten to sue if the project moves forward as is, but "all options are on the table." And "there's always the possibility of litigation."

During the public comment period there was a moment when planning commission chair Barbara Nelson -- who had earlier mentioned she might appear defensive because she'd been threatened with a lawsuit -- responded to a few comments about the project blocking the view of the river by commenting that the current empty lot at the site had maybe spoiled people in the view that it afforded. And she added, rhetorically, that if people always want that view, then don't build a building. There were cheers in the crowd.

1MonumentSquare 2015-06-30
Looking through the site this past June.

"It appears to me that that's their goal," said Kirchoff's Jeff Kane outside the meeting, in reference to We Care About the Square. "They don't want any building. I think that's a minority opinion in the city."

Kane's response to the "bait and switch" allegations? "Of course projects evolve. I've been doing this for 30 years and public comment always makes a project better. I think the comments we've gotten have made this a better project. And it's been a good process. The process is not over, the process will continue. ... I think we're going to create a space that city of Troy residents will use and will be a great benefit to the city."

This is the third major attempt to redevelop the 1 Monument Square site. The selection of the Kirchoff/Sequence team for this round was announced back in February of 2014. And the initial plan projected having one of the two originally-proposed buildings finished by this fall. It's now a year and a half later and the project doesn't have the OK to go forward. We asked Kane if they'd ever reach the point where they would just sort of throw their hands up and say they've had enough.

He took a long pause before answering.

"I'm trying to think of the number of projects over the years that don't get to the end. Sure, there's some projects that don't get finished because of opposition, of unexpected cost, of sheer inability to build a project. We don't think this is one of those. We think this is a project that's got real viability, that's got real value, and that will be successful."

Earlier

+ Biz Review: Developer faces doubts, questions over One Monument Square in downtown Troy

+ AOA: A look at the latest plan for the 1 Monument Square project in Troy (2015 July)

+ AOA: The latest 1 Monument Square plan evolves (2014 September)

+ AOA: The new plan for redeveloping the Monument Square site in downtown Troy (2014 February)

Comments

There is a clear appearance here of a bait and switch. What was approved initially is a far cry from the current proposal. The project should be re-opened for realistic proposals and those proposals should receive the most vigorous scrutiny from a team of professional engineers and designers. NOT from small town local politicians.

The review should look at the feasibility of actually constructing what is proposed, as well as to its harmony and functionality within its surroundings and to it financial viability. Troy was offered the moon by the current developer and is now having the equivalent of a Motel 6 foisted off on it.

The time for meaningful change is now.

The goal of We Care About the Square is to get something appropriate built at the site. Kirchoff and their spokesperson Jeff Kane have shown, repeatedly, that all they're interested in doing is building the cheapest design they can float past the city.

While I give them bonus points for their recent architectural drawings done in the finest Paint & Sip impressionist style (we Trojans sure do love a good paint and sip and Jeff DID mention at the last meeting that his team really felt like they understood what Troy was about), the design is still a sad looking Microtel spiffed up with some real masonry at the base.

man, just keep the pit and put more water sprinklers there

If the developer does not want to or cannot build what they originally proposed then it is in the public’s best interest for the City to issue a new Request for Proposals for the Redevelopment of Monument Square. Troy deserves better. SIGN THE PETITION!! You can access it at this link: http://wecareaboutthesquare.com/?page_id=112

Afzali did not outright threaten to sue if the project moves forward as is, but "all options are on the table." And "there's always the possibility of litigation."

Ah, that is what is great about America. The ability for everyone to threaten a law suit. Trouble is, no one can afford to see a law suit through unless you're a millionaire and the court of law is not a court of justice - so you will challenge and lose even if you win.

This bomb crater is a nightmare for the city of Troy. It needs to be developed. I agree that the original design connecting monument square with the river was exactly what is needed here, but no one from the previous administration seemed to care that low income apartments were going to be the driving force of getting that design built. Troy has plenty (too much) of that already. It is not what you do with riverfront property in a gentrified neighborhood. Bad enough Troy has a prison on valuable waterfront land...

But developers are the driver behind getting this project completed. I'm sure something can get worked with the current developer that will meet enough of the wants from all parties to have it go forward. Kirchoff needs to reduce profit margins and do a better job integrating the new structure(s) into its historic surroundings. The objectors need to be reasonable and understand that castles can no longer be built by the rulers - that's why when the old city hall burned it could never be replaced by something like what it was.

Just work together. There's nothing nefarious going on with this parcel and the bid process, it just needs to accommodate more of the city and its downtown and riverfront needs. But we do need a dedicated farmer's market area within this structure. Do not take that away. It's one of the best arguments to ultimately tear down the Atrium...

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