10 Projects Receive Funding to Generate Economic Opportunities by Removing Blight and Revitalizing Neighborhoods

March 26, 2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than $11 million has been awarded to 10 Capital Region municipalities through Round 5 of the Restore New York Communities Initiative. Restore New York supports municipal revitalization efforts by awarding funding for projects that will reinvigorate downtowns and generate new economic opportunity in communities from Western New York to Long Island. Nearly $81 million was awarded to 71 municipalities statewide.

“Downtown communities are vital to keeping our economies thriving and to attracting businesses and families to put down their roots in New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Restore New York Communities Initiative recognizes communities teeming with potential and invests in their transformation and their future, and turns them into neighborhoods New Yorkers are proud to call home.”

“Traveling across the State, I see the many buildings in communities that have great possibilities to be restored with the charm they once had,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “With this Restore New York funding, we’re committed to ensuring that our localities have the resources they need to pursue new development projects and transform abandoned properties. The Restore New York initiative continues to work with local leaders and stakeholders to unleash the full potential of economic development opportunities across the State.”

Round 5 of the Restore New York Communities Initiative was enacted in the FY 2017 State Budget, and Empire State Development was designated to implement the program. Cities, towns and villages were all eligible to apply for support for projects that include demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties. Projects located in economically distressed communities were emphasized and encouraged.

ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Restore New York partners with municipalities to back projects that can have a transformative impact on neighborhoods and downtowns throughout the state. With our support, cities and towns are tearing down vacant, blighted buildings and rehabilitating outdated structures to help revitalize their community and generate new economic opportunities.”

Capital Region Projects

  • City of Albany – $1,800,000 – Renovation of 251 North Pearl Street, a vacant industrial building in Livingston Square, into the new and permanent home of the Capital Repertory Theatre.
  • City of Schenectady – $1,800,000 – Renovation and restoration of four vacant and blighted downtown buildings located on State Street and Clinton Street into new mixed-use facilities.
  • City of Troy – $1,800,000 – Rehabilitation of 701 River Street, a 90,000-square foot former industrial building, into a mixed-use development on Troy’s Riverfront Brownfield Opportunity Area with retail/office space to house a restaurant, potential brewery, retail shops and 80 market rate apartments.
  • Village of Catskill – $1,000,000 – Redevelopment of a former millinery and furniture warehouse into FORELAND Catskill, a commercial office building with a focus on artists and the creative economy. Spaces for artists, writers, designers, and creative entrepreneurs will be created, along with a restaurant, event and retail space.
  • Town of Colonie – $1,000,000 – Demolition of Building 13 of the former First Prize Center, located on 32 acres at 76 Exchange street, making room for a new 152,000-square foot retail and commercial development.
  • Town of Schodack – $800,000 – Demolition of a former motel at 1344 US Route 9 for the construction of a new 7,200-square foot office building, which will serve as the Northeast Regional Headquarters for A. Servidone, Inc., a construction company.
  • City of Saratoga Springs – $750,000 – Redevelopment of the vacant Universal Preservation Hall, a historic non-profit community arts organization, into a performing arts center. The restored UPH will include an 800-seat theatre and a community event space, administrative offices and an elevator for increased accessibility
  • City of Glens Falls – $750,000 – The demolition of 49 and 51-57 South Street, followed by the construction of a 10,000-square foot Farmers Market Food Hub; as well as the environmental remediation and rehabilitation of two adjacent buildings in preparation for proposed adaptive mixed-use developments.
  • Village of Colonie – $700,000 – Deconstruction and rehabilitation of the former Colonie Community Center at 1653 Central Avenue into a 21,000 square-foot commercial mixed-use complex.
  • City of Cohoes – $631,000 – Renovation of 95 Remsen Street, a vacant three-story building, and redevelop into a restaurant and apartments to generate further downtown development.

A complete list of projects can be found here.

Senator Neil Breslin said, “The Capital Region has been going through a transformation over the past number of years with unprecedented economic growth and opportunity. It is critical that we build upon this success and continue to make the necessary investments to continue to help move our region forward. This $11 million investment in these ten projects does just that. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Zemsky for recognizing the critical role our region plays not just to our local economy by statewide.”

Senator Betty Little said, “I am very pleased Glens Falls is being awarded this funding. Eyesore buildings detract from the positives in a community, deter investments and, in some cases, actually create public hazards as properties further deteriorate. This funding is big boost of capital. I was glad to support it as part of last year’s budget along with Governor Cuomo and many of my colleagues. This will make a real impact and I’m hopeful serve as a catalyst for growth.”

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “Upstate New York and the Capital Region contain many relics of our rich industrial and manufacturing history. As industry has evolved, innovative thinking has inspired new useful purposes for these buildings that will add to the economic development of our communities; however, the costs associated with fulfilling these ideas can prove to be prohibitive. In recognition of these challenges, the Restore New York Program provides our municipalities the opportunity to bring life back to these buildings through revitalization and repurposing for uses that fit within the current needs. As a former Mayor of an upstate city and one who represents five cities rich with history and opportunity, I thank Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for awarding the cities of Albany, Troy, and Cohoes funding for these important projects.”

Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara said, “The Restore New York Initiative continues to support our ongoing efforts to lead community development and neighborhood revitalization. Here in the Capital Region, I know we have strong partnerships that are committed to smart growth. Identifying vacant and abandoned properties, and turning them into assets that reinvest in upstate communities is critically important to our success.”

Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, “Revitalizing vacant and aging properties in our downtown neighborhoods is an exciting and meaningful way to generate economic development and job creation, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his shared interest in helping our communities reach their full potential. The Universal Preservation Hall is an invaluable historic asset to downtown Saratoga Springs, and this funding will provide critical support to preserve and restore a beloved landmark as an exciting new venue for the arts while respecting its heritage as a house of worship.”

Additional news available at
New York State | Executive Chamber | | 518.474.8418