Items tagged with 'Colonie Center'

The "INclosed" place to shop

Colonie Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this Saturday afternoon. It first opened in November of 1966.

The shopping center -- the Capital Region's first enclosed mall -- was built on the site of the former Colonie Country Club along Wolf Road. The mall posted the above construction photo on its Facebook page today. It's kind of amazing comparing the scene there in the mid 60s with how it looks today. (The population of the town of Colonie grew from almost 30,000 in 1950 to almost 70,000 in 1970.)

An interesting bit about the origin of Colonie Center is that it was built by a subsidiary of Sears Roebuck and Co. The ownership of the mall has since changed hands multiple times, but Sears still owns the chunk of the mall which its store occupies. (You might remember that fact came up when the Colonie Center Whole Foods was announced.)

Reading through a Schenectady Gazette article about the mall's opening, and the Sears subsidiary's involvement, this part caught our eye:

A distinctive feature of each Homart center is the attention given to meshing the center with the mood and tempo of the specific community to be served. ... At Colonie, the country-club atmosphere has been retained with much of the architectural accent upon conveying the urban mood which is inspired by the booming growth of the Great Northeast.

It's country clubby -- but, you know, with an urban mood.

The early ads played up both the country club angle and the fact that mall was fully enclosed -- er, "INclosed." Check out this grand opening ad that ran in the Gazette...

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Colonie Center is getting a J. Crew Mercantile... what is that?

j crew mercantile logoColonie Center announced Tuesday that a J. Crew Mercantile location is set to open there this summer. The store will be on the lower level of the mall near Sephora.

J. Crew is a well-known brand, obviously. So what is a J. Crew Mercantile. Blurbage from the company website:

J.Crew Mercantile is a brand-new way to shop the J.Crew style you love with new deals every day. Featuring a collection of original styles once only found at J.Crew Factory stores...

Or, as a headline over at Racked proclaimed last year: "J.Crew Mercantile Is Exactly Like J.Crew Factory, Except It's in Malls." [Racked]

J. Crew has been having a rough time of it recently -- its CEO called 2015 "a difficult year -- with declining sales for its main brand. Mercantile is a bid to expand into the market for cheaper clothes and compete against brands such as Nordstrom Rack (already at Colonie Center). [Fashionista] [Buzzfeed]

The first location for the new brand opened in Dallas last summer. There are now 19 locations around the country, and the company projects to open 20 new locations during the 2016 fiscal year. [Business Insider] [J. Crew press release]

Earlier on AOA: Checking out Nordstrom Rack at Colonie Center

Checking out Nordstrom Rack at Colonie Center

Nordstrom Rack Colonie Center exterior

By Lauren Hittinger

I tend to be critical of the retail selection in the Capital Region, especially when it comes to women's clothes. Maybe my disdain is unwarranted, but this area is missing some of my favorite brands -- among them, the upscale department store Nordstrom.

As you've probably heard, a new Nordstrom Rack opens today at Colonie Center. It's not quite a full-fledged Nordstrom, but more like its less expensive, bargain-centered little sister. I'll take what I can get.

I had an opportunity this week to poke around Nordstrom Rack to see what shoppers can expect from this new spot.

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Nordstrom Rack to open at Colonie Center

nordstrom rack exterior sign

Nordstrom announced Wednesday that it's opening one of its Nordstrom Rack stores at Colonie Center in fall 2015. The company says it will be a two-level store -- roughly 35,000 square feet (roughly the same size as the new Whole Foods there) -- and it sounds like it will be in the same end of the mall as Sears.

Nordstrom Rack is the discount outlet for the upscale department store chain. The company says Rack offers "customers a wide selection of on-trend apparel, accessories and shoes at an everyday savings of 30-70 percent off regular prices."

As it happens, there are more Nordstrom Racks (162) than full Nordstroms (118). And the Colonie Center is one of 22 Nordstrom Rack locations the company has announced it plans to open in 2015.

It's interesting to us that, for whatever reason, the Capital Region appears to be getting attention from higher-end retailers over the last few years. Fresh Market has two locations in the region, Whole Foods opened earlier this year, Lord & Taylor returned at Crossgates just recently, and now (the not-quite-so-high-end-version of) Nordstrom.

We're curious if that points to something shifting in the demographics of this area. (More high-income households because of the nano/chip fab industry, maybe?) Or is it just that these upscale retailers have already expanded everywhere else and they're just getting around to the Capital Region.

Earlier on AOA: What "they" say about here

photo courtesy of Nordstrom, Inc.

Checking out the Whole Foods at Colonie Center

whole foods colonie center exterior

The long awaited Whole Foods at Colonie Center opens this Wednesday.

We figured a lot of people will be curious, so we stopped by for the media tour Monday afternoon.

Here are a bunch of photos and a few thoughts...

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Jimmer Fredette at Colonie Center

jimmer fredette book coverJimmer Fredette will be at the Colonie Center Barnes & Noble on Monday (September 17) to sign copies of the new book, The Contract: The Journey of Jimmer Fredette from the Playground to the Pros. The event starts at 6 pm. We suspect there will be a long line.

From the blurbage on the The Contract, which was written by veteran sports writer Pat Forde:

This is the story of two brothers from a blue-collar Mormon family in upstate New York Jimmer and T.J. both in need of help. One trying to make it to the NBA. The other trying to stay alive due to a debilitating illness. Both a lifeline to each other. T.J. wrote a contract for Jimmer to sign: I, James T. Fredette, agree on this day, Jan. 27, 2007, to do the work and make the necessary sacrifices to be able to reach my ultimate goal of playing in the NBA. Jimmer signed the contract, T.J. signed as the witness, and as Jimmer s fame spread, the contract became a prominent part of his backstory. Readers will learn about Jimmer s childhood and teen years as well as his special bond with his brother, T.J. Chapters include Jimmer s college basketball experience, his doubts, his goals, and the role his faith plays in his life.

The book is scheduled to be released Monday. It's being published by Shadow Mountain, an imprint owned by a publisher owned by the Church of Latter Day Saints. (As you well know, Jimmer is a member of the LDS church and attended BYU.)

This past season was Jimmer's first in the NBA. His season with the Sacramento Kings didn't go particularly well -- he averaged 7.6 points in 18 minutes a game while shooting 39% from the field. Not so hot for the #10 pick in the draft. Jimmermania was put on hold. And there have been trade rumors recently. That might be a good thing -- Sacramento seems like a mess of a team.

Earlier on AOA: 28.5 facts about Jimmer Fredette

Oh, Whole Foods, why Colonie Center?

Thumbnail image for whole foods exterior san diego

A Whole Foods -- good. In Colonie Center -- maybe not so much.

By Christine Hmiel

soapbox badgeI'm happy that Whole Foods is expanding into our area.

I'll lamely admit that the so-called "grocery store wars" are exciting to me. I shop at Honest Weight Food Co-Op, farmers' markets, and belong to both a CSA and a CSB, but like many of you, I still buy a chunk of my weekly groceries from grocery stores. Having more options for buying affordable, healthy foods along with products for specialty and food-allergic diets is good for everyone.

Competition is good. Investment in our region is good.

The Colonie Center location for Whole Foods? Not good.

Not good at all.

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Whole Foods is coming to Albany

whole foods exterior san diego

A Whole Foods in San Diego.

Updated 11:55 am May 3, 2012

Whole Foods announced in its quarterly earnings report yesterday that it has signed a lease for a store in the Albany, New York area. The company also mentioned it on its Twitter feed.

A spokesman for Whole Foods, Michael Sinatra, tells AOA the store will be at Colonie Center. He says the supermarket chain will be taking over a portion of the bottom floor of the Sears space there. The store is expected to be 32,000 square feet.

Sinatra says the target date for the store opening is late 2013 early 2014. The store is still "very much in the planning phase." It will be Whole Foods' first store in upstate New York. Sinatra says the company already works with a lot of farms in this region.

"We've had requests for sometime from that area, so we're excited to open there," Sinatra says. And in an follow up email: "Nothing in particular pushed us over the edge [in deciding to expand to Albany] other than tremendous support from the local community in having us come to Albany."

At tip of the hat to Business Review for first reporting the lease signing.

What about Sears?

The announcement prompts the question: What about Sears? Susan Spaccarelli, Colonie Center's marketing manager, told us this morning that Sears will not be leaving the mall -- but she couldn't share details because the mall has not received official confirmation of the deal. Spaccarelli said Sears owns its chunk of the mall, so any leasing deal would be between Whole Foods and Sears.

A spokesman for Sears, Chris Braithwaite, tells us the company plans to continue on as usual at the Colonie Center location -- it's just that part of its space will be turned over to Whole Foods. He says it's too early to tell what the product mix will be in the reconfigured space. Braithwaite says the Colonie Center store is one of the bigger Sears, though he declined to share its square footage.

Sears and Whole Foods have teamed up for a similar deal in at least one other location, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Supermarket field is getting crowded

Either by coincidence or strategy, the Whole Foods will be going in just down the street from the new Trader Joe's on Wolf Road. TJ's hasn't announced when that store will open, but it probably won't be long -- the company has said it would be during this quarter.

Another angle in all this: the local supermarket field is getting crowded -- and competitive. ShopRite is investing significantly in this area with two (eventually four) new stores. A Vermont-based market called Healthy Living -- which is a bit like Whole Foods -- is planning to open a store in Wilton. The relatively new Fresh Market in Latham has apparently been very well. The Honest Weight Food Co-op is looking to move ahead on its planned location in Albany. And the established players, Price Chopper especially, appear to be trying to step up their game.

Wegmans could cause a mass medical emergency right now with any sort of nod toward this area. Thousands would probably succumb to supermarket hysteria-induced fainting.

After the jump, much reaction -- a lot of it not positive -- from Twitter and Facebook.

(Thanks, Alex!)

photo: Flickr user Roebot

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The soda fountain... of the future

5_guys_coke_freestyle_wide.jpg

Sometimes it doesn't take much: we ended up more than reasonably delighted by the soda fountain in the new Five Guys at Colonie Center. It's one of the somewhat-new Coke "freestyle" machines that allows you to custom mix a bunch of different sodas and flavors. The company says there are 100+ combinations.

This is the second machine of this type we've seen in the Capital Region. The other was at the Moe's farther up on Wolf Road -- but given that we have rather strict no-Moe's policy, this was our first time trying the machine. (Tangent: this new Five Guys adds to the already crazy overcrowded Wolf side of the mall. Parking there = challenging.)

A raspberry Coke? Why, yes, we'd love one. A raspberry-vanilla Coke? Hey, now. Vanilla Barq's? Smooth. Peach Sprite? Sure, why not. Orange-vanilla Coke? Hmmm... ooh, it's like a creamsicle.

A few more photos after the jump, if you're curious.

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Bettie's to stay in Colonie Center

Thumbnail image for Bettie's Cakes Logo.jpgWhen we got the news in November that Bettie's Cakes had opened a temporary location in Colonie Center for the holidays, we thought something like this might happen.

Bettie's Cakes owners Lorraine and John Murphy say there's been enough demand at the location to stick around on more permanent basis. They just signed a lease that will keep the cupcakes at Colonie Center until the end of 2011. That's in addition to Bettie's downtown Saratoga location, its double decker cupcake bus and a cupcake truck.

Colonie really has become the epicenter of the Capital Region's cupcake boom.

(What's the next boom? Please say gourmet donuts.)

Bonus food item The Epicurean announced today that it's closing its Route 7 location in Rensselaer County. It says business is down about 20 percent there over the last few years -- and they've decided to focus on their Latham Farms location. The Epicurean also runs the cafe at EMPAC.

Toy car

toy art car in Colonie Center parking lot

So, what is the preferred glue for sticking a figurine to one's hood?

While we're on the subject of art cars: we passed this car in the parking lot at Colonie Center this past weekend.

It's a compact Nissan with with figurines stuck to the hood. And the trunk was covered in chalkboard paint, with an accompanying bin of chalk. People had written messages all over the trunk (among them: "Freakin epic car dude!!!").

A few more pics after the jump.

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Ravitch appointment blocked, motivational event jams traffic, Schenectady SD paid $13k for Raucci report, Troy dog park drama continues

A state Supreme Court justice in Nassau County has issued an injunction stopping Richard Ravitch's appointment as lieutenant governor. The justice also ruled that Malcolm Smith -- who's (again) the state Senate president -- would take over the role of governor if something happened to David Paterson. A spokesman for Paterson says the administration will appeal in the ruling. Despite the injunction, Ravitch says he'll be showing up for work today. [NYT][NYDN] [Daily Politics] [Fox23]

The "Get Motivated" event at the TU Center yesterday contributed to a big traffic jam in downtown Albany yesterday morning -- I-90 and I-787 had mile-long lines of standing cars. The event featured motivational speakers -- including Colin Powell and Rudy Giuliani -- pitching optimism, faith, skepticism of government and motivational products. Powell's speech was apparently the highlight of the day. (Question for another day: if having this gathering during a weekday snarled traffic so badly, what will happen if/when there's a convention center downtown?) [Fox23] [TU] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

Albany police say two banks -- one on New Scotland and another on Delaware -- were held up yesterday within a span of 15 minutes. And they say it looks the same person was involved in both. The guy apparently got frustrated during the first robbery attempt -- so he left without money and headed for the second bank. [Troy Record] [TU] [CapNews9]

The chairman of the Troy City Council's public safety committee says RPI needs to "bring more to the table" in assistance for fire department coverage of the campus. The union that reps Troy firefighters has been lobbying for RPI to pay a "public safety fee" to help fund firefighter staffing near the campus -- and it appears the union is going to keep pressing the issue. [TU] [Troy Record]

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Deal to avoid state worker layoffs "expected" today, Albany landfill expansion approval could come soon, Rensselaer County computers being de-wormed, UAlbany getting new building

The announcement of a deal between the state worker unions and the Paterson administration to avoid layoffs is "expected" to come today. The deal will reportedly include $20k buyouts for employees eligible for retirement -- which has some observers asking where the money is going to come from. The deal also apparently includes a new, less generous tier in the state pension system. [NYDN] [TU]

It's looking like the state DEC could approve the expansion of the Albany landfill soon. The dump is projected to be full before the end of this year -- six years sooner than originally planned. [TU]

The search has been called off for the man who went missing in the Mohawk on Sunday. A friend who accompanied the man that day said strong currents tipped their canoe. Rains earlier that week had increased the Mohawk's flow that weekend. [Troy Record] [TU] [USGS]

Among Scott Murphy's first slate of requested Congressional earmarks (pork): $2 million for a new Saratoga Springs public safety building. Murphy has posted his full list of requested earmarks online. [Saratogian] [Post-Star]

Another potential 2010 primary challenger to Kirsten Gillibrand has announced she won't be running against KG. [NYDN]

David Paterson's new top advisor described himself as being "like the 300-pound offensive tackle blocking for the quarterback called Governor David Paterson." [NYT]

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Paterson expects cuts to Medicaid and schools, food pantries running low, copper pipe ripped off from church, high-end development planned for Cohoes

David Paterson says cuts to Medicaid and school aid will probably be necessary to cover the state's budget gap. He said he also expected to be renegotiating contracts with the state worker unions. By the way: as of the Friday deadline set by Paterson, state legislative leaders offered the following proposals to help the state cover its budget gap: nada. [NYT] [AP/TU]

It looks like state Senator Malcolm Smith (a Democrat from Queens) has locked up the role of state Senate majority leader come January. Smith, accompanied by David Paterson, sealed the deal this past weekend in... Puerto Rico. [TU]

Albany County DA David Soares says the leaders of the union that represent Albany police are trying to smear him. He also says the leaders organized a protest outside his house. One the leaders is the guy who was accused this past summer of spitting on an officer because of a misappropriated shot of Jagermeister. [TU]

Local food pantries say demand is up and supplies are starting to run short. Local homeless shelters say they're also seeing increased demand. [Daily Gazette] [CapNews9]

Kenneth Lally has died. Along with his wife Thelma, he donated a bunch of money around the Capital Region -- most prominently to RPI (The Lally School of Management) and St. Rose (Lally School of Education). The Lallys also supported local hospitals and museums. [TU] [Troy Record]

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Field for Bruno's seat coming together, Pataki snubbed, local bankruptcies up, dude - where's her car?

Mike Russo, who works for Kirsten Gillibrand, has officially announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination in the race for Joe Bruno's state Senate seat. He joins Brian Premo and Saratoga Springs supervisor Joanne Yepsen. The Republicans still don't have any official candidates, but that should change tomorrow when Wilton assemblyman Roy McDonald is expected to officially announce. Ray Seney, a councilman from the town of Nassau, is also circulating petitions in a bid to run. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

George Pataki will not be a delegate at the Republican National Convention later this year, even though the former governor was on John McCain's list of preferred delegates. The dis is apparently payback from state Republican committee chair Joseph Mondello after Pataki pushed to replace him. [AP] [NYDN]

Bankruptcy filings in the Capital Region are up from the same period last year and local bankruptcy lawyers report they're swamped with cases. [TU]

Three weeks ago, Kerri-Ann Vincent drove a stabbing victim to the hospital in Troy. And she hasn't seen her car since. Troy police are holding the vehicle as evidence. Vincent says she can't get to work without her car. The TPD has basically told her to deal. [CBS6]

Two apparently popular Guilderland High School teachers have been relegated to the middle school after a "culture climate inquiry" inquiry. The two teachers, one of whom is out on maternity leave, are accused of contributing to a "locker room" and "boys' club" atmosphere within the school's social studies department. [TU]

The stock of Feldman Mall Properties, one of the co-owners of Colonie Center, has been delisted from the NYSE. The company lost $17 million last year. [Daily Gazette]

Overheard at the new movie theater

colonie center theater ticket counterA woman is waiting in line for one of the discount movies at the new movie theater at Colonie Center. An usher is handing out promotional flyers.

Woman: What do you know about this Sweeney Todd?

Usher: Not much. All I know is what I heard from Regis Philbin. He says it's really bloody and gory.

An iPod vending machine at Macy's? What?

macys ipod vending machine

For when an iPod craving just hits you out of nowhere.

We saw this on a swing through the Colonie Center Macy's this week. It's a vending machine for iPods, cameras and other digital media gadgets -- like a little piece of Japan right next to the cosmetics department.

It looks like Macy's has been rolling out these vending machines over the last few years. The company pretty much dumped selling electronics back in the late 90s and is hoping the iPod-o-mat (our name, not theirs) can help them get back in the game.

OK, but why a vending machine? Couldn't you just sell iPods at, you know, a counter or something? It seems the vending machines are supposed to help spur impulse buys and... wait for it... attract younger shoppers.

Earlier on AOA:
+ The Wal-Mart. Has. An Escalator.

The theater at Colonie Center: thumbs up or down?

ticket counter at the Colonie Center theater

Is that sweet and sour pork I smell? And pizza. And soup.

Updated May 19, 2008

Figuring "Who are we to turn down a movie for $2?", we checked out the new Regal Cinemas at Colonie Center last night. Here's our quick review, Siskel-Ebert-Roeper-Whoever-It-Is-Now style...

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Preview the new theater at Colonie Center

movie posters

For $2, there's probably something you'll like.

You know that movie theater they've been building on the roof of Colonie Center for seemingly forever? Well, it's finally ready.

The official opening is this Friday, but the theater's having a sort of dress rehearsal the next few days, which means you can check it out for cheap. Really cheap. Admission is $2 to showings of not-exactly-new-anymore movies. Popcorn and drinks are also two bucks.

The preview lineup is kind of a mixed bag. For every Atonement there seems to be a 10,000 BC. But it's hard to go wrong for $2. And given that the place is brand new, your feet might not even stick to the floor.

Make it work! Tim Gunn's coming to town!

tim gunnThere was squealing at the AOA satellite office this afternoon when we found out that Tim Gunn -- the best thing to come out of Project Runway -- will be at the Colonie Center Macy's (you know, the "good" Macy's) April 26 at 2 pm. It seems that Tim, who's now chief creative officer of Liz Claiborne, will be demonstrating "how to build a versatile wardrobe with a couple of key pieces."

And maybe he can explain to us why Victorya seemed like such a pill on the last season of Project Runway.

UPDATE: You'll need reservations for the event. Call 1-888-622-9769 and apparently you can leave a message to reserve your spot. Probably. The reservation process seemed a little unclear.

(Thanks, Aja!)

photo: Bravo Company

Convention center money sought, home foreclosures up, Colonie Center movie theater nears completion, horses back at Saratoga

The Albany Convention Center Authority is looking for the state to help pay another $190 million in expenses for the project. The price tag for the convetion center has almost doubled from its original projection. [TU]

The number of Capital Region home foreclosures continued a year-long upward swing. [TU]

Uri Kaufman, the guy who turned Cohoes' Harmony Mills into luxury apartments, has proposed doing the same for a former knitting factory in Amsterdam. Kaufman is also currently involved with a plan to convert the old Victory Mill in Saratoga into lofts. [Daily Gazette]

Public filings indicate that Feldman Mall Properties, which owns a piece of Colonie Center, has spent $110 million renovating the mall. The project was originally slated to cost about half that, but the cost of building a movie theater on the mall's roof has ended up being much expensive than originally projected. And what about that much delayed theater? The planned opening date is now May 16. [Business Review]

The parent company of The Saratogian and The Troy Record is being de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange today. Journal Register Company is straining under the weight of debt and some analysts are projecting the company is headed for default. [AP/TU]

About a third of shoppers at Railroad Avenue Price Chopper in Saratoga Springs walk there, according to a company survey. So, what? There have been rumors the Chopper at that location might close, which has prompted concern the city would no longer have a supermarket to which people could walk. [Saratogian]

Training season has opened at Saratoga. [Daily Gazette]

The "good" Macy's just got better

macys_bcbg_lacoste_composite.jpg

Stylish crocodile sighting at Colonie Center.

By Aja Lownes

The Macy's at Colonie Center (also known as the "good" Macy's) just got a little better.

There is now a BCBG MaxAzria section at the store. It's definitely edited, but it's also the real deal; not a watered-down department store version.

The saleswomen told me that the "boutique" is brand new, and the company is experimenting with select stores on the East Coast.

Another new development : Lacoste.

A year or two ago Macy's got a men's Lacoste section, and I remember complaining because they conveniently left the ladies out to pasture. Well that's been addressed as well. There is now a women's Lacoste table. They have both the classic boxy cut and the more modern fitted version in maybe 7 or 8 colors.

It's not much people, but a little goes a long way.

The America's Next Top Model casting call: surprisingly not a trainwreck

photo of a young woman auditioning for America's Next Top Model
By Aja Lownes

When you hear that there are going to be tryouts for America's Next Top Model at the local mall, you have to expect it all: zealous pageant-mom types, Paris Hilton-types, and way too much make-up. Instead, the auditions at Colonie Center this past Saturday were sort of... low-key. Fly 92 was there (Big Ray was the MC), as was the CW, which airs the show.

There were lots of girls of various heights, sizes and ages decked out in stilettos, skinny jeans, and channeling the last five looks of Victoria Beckham. The crowd was the occasional family member or friend holding up a sign to support their daughter/sister/BFF.

All hopefuls stood against a white backdrop and were photographed and video-taped facing the camera and in profile. They also had to do a runway walk and a pose (yeah, they ALL need to work on that), and then they had to say a little something into the mic. On-lookers couldn't hear what was said, but I'm pretty sure that was the part when contestants talk about how they've wanted to model their whole lives and how they want to be like Tyra Banks when they grow up.

Unlike the show, there was no drama (much to my chagrin). Just a lot of high-school girls with a bit of diva in them, hoping to be the next big thing.

The Scoop

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