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A peek at what the proposed movie theater at 1 Monument Square in Troy might look like

One Monument Square Conceptual Renderings 2017-April 1 cropped

Don't squint -- we've posted the images in large format.

The first renderings of the propose movie theater at 1 Monument Square in downtown Troy are out.

The backers of the project -- Bonacio Construction and Bow Tie Cinemas -- pitched the idea before the Troy City Council Wednesday evening, touting it as a luxury movie theater. [Troy Record] [TU]

The city of Troy selected the proposal from two entries earlier this year. The super quick overview: The $18 million project would include a 9-screen movie theater, 3,000 square feet of street level retail space, 100-150 parking spaces underneath, and the potential for additional floors in the future. Bonacio and Bow Tie will also be redeveloping the American Theater space, located 500 feet down River Street from the site. The projected opening date for the 1 Monument Square theater would be the fall of 2018.

As you know, the story of this site -- one of the most high-profile spots in all the Capital Region -- has included its fair share of drama. This is now the fourth major attempt to build something there since the old city hall was demolished in 2011.

What's ahead

+ The sale of the site from the city to developers for $600k will be up for a vote by the city council later this spring.
+ And the project will have to go through the usual planning approval process. Steven Strichman, Troy's commissioner of planning and economic development, said today via email that the project would probably go before the city planning commission sometime in May or June.

Look up

The renderings are at the top in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.


Excellent use of the waterfront here. Outstanding mixed use facility that is going to add to the architectural history of Troy.

I suspect that a familiar pattern will play out in these comments, and I want to be the first to say yes, I actually would prefer a hole in the ground.

My first reaction upon seeing the renderings was "ugh; another bland box, forced into a space at the lowest dollar." Looking at it more, however, I can see some merits - a decent amount of glass at street level, some "texture" to the building on the corner, good flow down from the street to river, for example. But you can't miss the big blank walls above street level, and the huge windowless walls facing the river. How about some more creativity on those facades, and maybe some kind of elevated retail/restaurant wrapping around to the riverside somewhere? Can anything be done to avoid closing off the river views - other cities are tearing down parking lots that take up valuable waterfront property, while we're erecting a new one? It'll be good to fill the hole in downtown Troy... hopefully with a structure that's a welcome part of the neighborhood, not "ugh!"

Is it just me, or 4th picture has sun shining from the north?

Nope. It's too big city for Troy. It's not in scale with the surrounding buildings, and it's blocking the access to the river. The back looks like the same seedy "don't look back here" barren aesthetic we have there now.

I want to see a LEED AP design or at least incorporate solar.
In addition, the back that faces the river should incorporate some architectural detail and interest. Rather than have a giant brick or cement wall blocking the view of the downtown from 787 and the river.

Sweet. Let's get it done.

There aren't many ways to build something on a waterfront with zero windows facing the water, but by golly Troy has found one!

Not to shabby is the first thing that comes to my mind. I do wish they could do something with those large flat walls on the side and back... maybe a mural of some sort? a second home for TroyBot? something else? :) I'm intrigued.

Omg.....can the brutalist city hall be rebuilt??? What is wrong with these people???? Would be great development in Phoenix Arizona or vegas!

While I think a theater in downtown Troy (I'm thinking something like The Spectrum in Albany) would be great this proposal places a giant unremarkable box that looks like it belongs in a mall in the heart of Victorian downtown Troy while simultaneously, and perhaps more importantly, blocking access and view to, and of, the beautiful Hudson River and surrounding valley. This primarily windowless (by necessity) box is entirely out of place and time and counter to the goal of connecting downtown to the river and natural wonder we love and respect. In short this proposal is a giant opportunity for Troy squandered.

Ugh. Bonacio is incapable of building anything complementary to the style, size, and massing of existing architecture. They've turned Saratoga into a Disney World architectural comedy of errors to the point that I'd rather go to the fake Saratoga in Disney World than look at those faux brick laminated Bonacio buildings off Broadway. Troy is in the middle of a community driven revival. They are breathing new life into these historic structures and encouraging a level of economic development the city has not seen in years. Building this suburban architectural reject in the heart of downtown will end that.

For those who keep commenting on the windowless walls- please remember this is a THEATER.

So many critics of architecture. The building doesn't need to mimic the historic buildings--usually juxtaposition of more modern buildings with older architecture adds more interest. If the people of Troy keep voting things down it will dissuade developers from submitting plans in the future.

For those who keep commenting on the comments about windowless walls- please remember this is a RIVER FRONT SITE in the heart of troy that needs to be better utilized.

There sure are a lot of "architecture lovers" in here, that probably have never been to the waterfront once, don't live on a waterfront facing property, probably don't even live in Troy, and don't understand economic development. The prevailing logic seems to be that "if it's an old city, everything in it needs to look old, mixing modern and historic doesn't work", I dunno seems to work pretty well in NYC to me. But then, I am the kind of person that can appreciate both the historic buildings in Albany, as well as the contrast that Brutalist Empire State Plaza brings. But the particular brand of people commenting on this seem largely to believe that anything remotely modern in a growing city with high tech growth is a sin.

I have a feeling that most people would be open to architecturally-modern construction at this site. The problem, is that as currently rendered, the project doesn't have a lick of architectural merit. I also think that people are more or less open to a movie theater, but there any number of parking lots in downtown troy where a good infill project (even if heinously designed) would probably be a net benefit.

So... everyone take a reeeaaaaally deep breath. This is the phase of the development where Bonocio goes in front of the City Council to discuss the plans for the site to get municipal approval for the sale of the land aka the step after winning the RFP. At the meeting the architect said a lot was shown was negotiable... The development team would have probably been safer not providing the renderings, just the building footprint. There's so much heat on this development already that I actually give them credit for showing us a possible version of the theater.

There is a proposed sightline to the river in this project by way of the public staircase albeit not the one that people are clamoring for directly in line with Broadway. Can anyone tell me if there was a time other than when the original buildings were torn down to make room for a parking garage/city hall and when now, post city hall demolition that there was an actual view of the river in this spot? None of the other buildings on this stretch of River St allow you to see through them to the river- why should this one?

I like the theater idea, I like the staircase, the curved marquee has a kind of appeal... The rest of it is a little "Rivers Casino" for me but I trust that Bonocio is smart enough to have learned from the mistakes of other developers. And if he hasn't, I trust that the WCATS folks will be rattling their sabers for the next 2 years.

The street-facing sings look nice for a movie theater. And I have no objection for there being a theater in this space... but I agree with the general sentiment that having a massive windowless wall facing the river is pretty dumb. Why not scale back the number of screens slightly, and use some of the river-facing side to put in one or two restaurant spaces, complete with patio?

It's hard to say how they could pull this off without seeing floor plans, but I'd imagine it has to be possible as long as having the full eight screens is not the 'break even point' to building the facility. And if it is.... then this is probably not a good plan to begin with.

Where to start? As a local to the Capital District, born 1970, I have seen a number of things "progress". I have studied Interior Design and now work in Landscape Design. I am someone who is aware of my surroundings and like to notice what works and what doesn't based on function and how the space makes me feel. I agree with pretty much everything everyone has said so far. Movie theater? Something like Spectrum would be more suited than a mall theater. The one in Saratoga is hideous and lacks character. On the water front? Why not maximize the lot for mixed uses incorporating the outdoors and view instead of mostly for a theater? Architecture? Most "builders" in our area lack design. What might look good for the next ten years won't necessarily age well. Take State St/Central Ave from The Crosstown to Fuller Rd. area and parts of Latham/Rt 9. Yuck. Awful time frame but was quick and cheap. How about the failed Canal Square behind Proctors? All those pop-up mini malls in Clifton Park? Is it required to have a nail salon in every one? I'm so tired of transient design. I'm not opposed to modern design but just not obnoxious, irrelevant, not-thought out design (and I realize not all of Frank Lloyd Wrights design were "functional" and that's where I disagree with ego). They need to stop designing with the paycheck in mind and look at how it will age with and develop the community. We don't need another Center City in Schenectady or Troy Atrium or State Museum. Just because they want to make it with big, fancy materials doesn't mean it will be successful. Looking back at the pics, it reminds me of the old facade of Mohawk Mall...where The Boston Store was. Who is bringing the ideas to the big construction companies? Is this what the residents want? Is this what the market research shows? Or is this what the big construction company thinks the area needs? In talking with people who work and live in the Troy (when I shop and visit Troy), they do want something (and I want more to visit) but something that draws community and beauty. I am not as involved as many and don't know all the details of what has developed to this point but after seeing how Saratoga has "progressed", I visit Troy frequently and don't want that to happen here. It lacks a pedestrian, community, inviting, functional feel. It has missed the mark for me and I feel most of the new construction in Saratoga is repellent. Turns me off completely. Troy, please hold out for better.

I'd like to see the Redburn Development proposal, which was for a hotel. They have an impressive track record for such a young company.

So what happens with the American Theater space?

I like the movie theater idea but couldn't they mix in some kind of restaurant/bar space on the roof or on the water side of the building?

I like the idea of a movie theatre in Troy but this design lacks imagination...(Saratoga ?) and it's out of scale to its surroundings.
Also what about The American Theatre location??

As this project will be sited within the boundary of the Enchanted City, I will not be content until I am assured it will contain a suitable lair where I can plot my next campaign of irritation.

It is not the worst idea they have had for the site. The design can use some improving, but the reality is that the cost of having something that matches the existing street scape won't happen. Its over for this site. If they could pull off something like EMPAC (which has grown on me) that would be great.
I wish it was more of a Spectrum theater idea, but...
There will never be a 100% perfect idea for the site.

As Paul and others above have said, why not "use some of the river-facing side to put in one or two restaurant spaces, complete with patio?" Don't waste the riverfront property! Before or after seeing a movie, people would love to sit out on the river in warm weather and inside looking onto the river in cold weather. Faux retro architecture is not at all necessary—and could be atrocious—but good architecture is. Bonacio needs to hire a decent designer. As for the New York City comparisons, the city has had some great projects built over the fifteen years or so along the Westside downtown. Do they "match" the old buildings? Not at all, but many are interesting. Think Frank Gehry's building, for example: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/arts/design/22dill.html#addenda

Why not aim high instead of low? (Yes, "high" indeed costs more.) EMPAC, for example, is worth a trip from out-of-town to see and to experience a performance there. There is something cool going on in Troy now—with people in arts, technology, start ups, and small businesses mixing it up—and this project could either help or hurt that energy.

This proposal has quite literally kept me up at night. I can't figure out how to stop it but I am so vehemently opposed to it. (Yes, I've written letters) As earlier posters said, I'd prefer the hole in the ground we currently have. It's absolutely absurd that anyone would agree to build something like this, blocking precious water front property in 2017 while staring at the decades worth of waterfront mistakes right in the face on a daily basis. PLEASE Troy, please wise up and reject the sale of this land and wait for something better. This is this wrong move.

Closing off the river? Instead, how about using all of that "roof space" as a GREEN ROOF that would function as a park? Elevators on the sides of the Building as well as staircases. More expensive now but a meeting place and showpiece for Troy for years to come.

Is that the building, or the box the building comes in?

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