A few details about the proposed Mill Artisan District project in Schenectady

CREDC priority projects 2016 The Mill Schenectady

A rendering of of the proposed project from the REDC briefing book.

By Haley Viccaro

One of the interesting -- and potentially transformative -- Capital Region projects to get state money during the recent Regional Economic Development Council awards is The Mill Artisan District. The project aims to renovate a three-block area in downtown Schenectady into space for craft beverage producers, artists, retail, and residential.

Here are a few more bits about the project, along with some of the potential tenants...

Who's behind the project

Re4orm Architecture of Schenectady was awarded $2.325 million in the REDC process to renovate seven buildings on lower State Street as part of a $14.1 million development. Re4orm plans to be the developer of the project and pick up the rest of the cost, with a probable grant from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority in the future, according to Metroplex chairman Ray Gillen.

Re4orm developed Firestone 151 on Lafayette Street and its own building on Clinton Street. It's also the architect on the Mohawk Harbor project with developer Galesi Group. JT Pollard of Re4orm Architecture did not return calls for comment.

"He wanted to start doing more work on the development side," Gillen said of Pollard.

Which companies are potentially involved

The Mill Schenectady draft rendering Mill Lane 2016-December
An early draft rendering of what Mill Lane could like as part of the project. Albany Distilling has not signed as a tenant, and says it's too early to say whether it will.

"We have strong interest in this project," Gillen said this week, adding that Re4orm already has some signed memoranda of understanding from potential tenants.

Several producers in the Capital Region have been in discussions with Re4orm about possibly leasing space in the project, but there are no definite tenants at this point:

+ Albany Distilling Co. is considering moving into space there.

+ Death Wish Coffee was part of the conversations but recently pulled out of the project.

+ Matt Baumgartner said he was considering leasing space, but has not been in discussions with Re4orm.

+ A local brewer has also expressed interest.

Rick Sicari, co-owner of Albany Distilling Co., said it's too early to say for sure if they would be involved but that they are looking to expand in Schenectady.

"We talked about it more on if a distillery would fit there and how it would all work," he said. "We're focusing on production. At this point that is our main goal. The Death Wish partnership changed our gears."

Sicari was planning to partner with Death Wish on another project in Schenectady at 10-12 Yates St. But Sicari said that fell through because it didn't end up working out with the landlord.

Albany Distilling had been looking to open a gin and vodka distillery, along with a restaurant and retail operation, at the Yates Street building. ADC and Death Wish were planning to distill a special line of coffee-infused vodka there.

(It is unclear what the plans are for the Yates Street project now. Gillen said there is another group interested in moving into the space but did not disclose details.)

Even if The Mill project isn't the right fit, Sicari said he's excited that it will be another place for a brewery and distillery in the area.

"We are a growing company and anywhere we can be involved with helping a producer come in would be great," he said.

Kane Grogan, who does advertising and marketing for Death Wish, said the lease had been up at their current home in Round Lake and that they were looking to relocate and expand in Schenectady.

Grogan said a deal for The Mill didn't work out due to some back-and-forth and timing issues. Death Wish instead signed on for another three years at its current property.

He said Death Wish's ultimate goal is to have its own building in the future.

The overall idea for the site

Joe Bonilla, executive director of the Capital Craft Beverage Trail Association, which represents more than a dozen craft beverage manufacturers in the region, said the project would promote industry collaboration.

"We have seen this work organically in the Warehouse District in Albany," he said. "The concept of placing this 'producer-friendly' district alongside housing, creative spaces and office space is a recipe for economic success that more communities should look to emulate."

The project is an ambitious one for Re4orm in an area of State Street that is slowly starting to recover.

The early 1900s buildings are in bad shape, Gillen said. They include 102, 104, 110, 116 and 122 State St. along with a couple on Mill Lane and S Church Street.

They also have environmental issues. One building was a dry cleaner. The funding from the state would be used, in part, for the cleanup. One building may have to be demolished due to contaminants, Gillen said.

The project also includes plans for art space and loft apartments. The number of units is unclear at this time. Square footage among all the buildings totals 68,000.

"The theme is to have space for working artists and folks who occupy space there to make and demonstrate their products," Gillen said. "The companies want to occupy first-floor space and we will have apartments."

The site is just down the street from the old YMCA building at 13 State St., which is being converted into 61 senior housing units. And nearby Liberty Park, across from Schenectady County Community College, will also be expanded and rebranded as Gateway Park.

Schenectady County is now home to Capoccia Vineyards & Winery, Mad Jack Brewing Company, and Wolf Hollow Brewing Company. In March Capoccia Vineyards, located in Niskayuna, opened a wine bar on the first floor of the Foster Building on State Street in downtown.

Haley Viccaro is on Twitter as @HRViccaro.

Comments

This is a wonderful concept. This section of Schenectady is ripe for development; especially with artists and "producers" in mind. Bring on the "makers"! We love JT Pollard and his work. Thanks for posting.

There used to be a fantastic French bakery on Mill Lane which went through a historic renovation in the early 80s including apartments. . Can't remember the name of the bakery.

Beautiful! Long overdue! I always wondered why this is so unattended...the implications! I've lived down here for 27 years now and the ambition to do these projects is the best ever! The WHOLE area will come alive once again! After all, it's the 21st Century! Good luck...can't wait!

Sounds like an amazing opportunity to transform this little section. Would like to see more home ownership (condo) opportunities nearby.

Appreciate this article's clarity and level of detail.

Looking forward to reporting from Haley!

GL
Sharon Springs

No. Leave the stockade alone. Leave it weird. Leave it unique. No condos, no uniform Helvetica fonts, we don't need development. The reason why I love Schenectady is because it's not developed. You guys can have Troy and Albany. Just leave us Schenectady. Schenectady can stay ours (neglected and underappreciated) but amazing.

The funny thing is there are tons of things already everywhere in Schenectady but a flashy sign and suddenly everyone is thinks its Schenectady is on fire! Schenectady is awesome without it. Just like every city. It's corporate propaganda and we way too easily follow.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of winter

The sound of sticks and skates and pucks on the pond is a happy sound. (Things were slow on the site today because of the... (more)

Holiday gifts: Danika Atkins

Gifts and giving are on most everyone's mind this month. So we're again asking people to share some thoughts on presents, past and present, charities... (more)

Remembering Minnie Clark Bolster

Minnie Clark Bolster -- who was passionate about Saratoga Springs, and served as an unofficial historian of the city -- died this past Saturday. She... (more)

Wyclef Jean at Putnam Den

Wyclef Jean is set to play a show at Putnam Den March 2. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $40 ahead / $48 day... (more)

Morning Blend

Casino revenue The actual revenues from the new casinos around the state -- and the resulting reductions in local municipal taxes -- are way behind... (more)

Recent Comments

It's a definitely a start. Liking the thinking. The innovative redevelopment of unused/underused spaces only stands to benefit a city and its region, serving as an inspiration to others around the world. Mix that in with the addition of more parks, greenery and public spaces and you've got a higher quality of life across the board. ...

What's up with the Albany Skyway, and a few bits about plans to makeover a key piece of downtown

...has 9 comments, most recently from jimmy

There's still time to get a flu shot

...has 6 comments, most recently from Lu

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 3 comments, most recently from Sarah

Holiday gifts: Anasha Cummings

...has 1 comment, most recently from Melissa Bromley

B. Lodge on Pearl Street

...has 12 comments, most recently from Jeffrey Demce