Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Night Lights

For lack of a better title, there it is.

Due to a one-day hiatus, I come to you tonight with the excitement of the Congress-Ferry Street reconstruction. No seriously, it is quite exciting.

For those that don't know, the Congress-Ferry Street reconstruction was originally a collaboration between the City of Troy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Troy Housing Authority and Rensselaer County. More than two years ago, the heads of these groups gathered together to sign a memorandum of understanding to pursue a development project that aims to capitalize on 13 acres of vacant land near downtown.

Shortly thereafter, the collaboration chose the United Group of Companies and partner John Hedley as the group who could best complete this unique opportunityto bring a new, and exciting development to Troy.

Since then it has been a long process, but we are edging closer to development taking place. For those that do not know, this is what the corridor looks like now.

Reconstruction of the road is on schedule to begin during the spring. While this certainly dovetails with the economic redevelopment we plan for the area, it is a separate, and much needed project. In fact, the road reconstruction will consist of more than $6 million in improvements, most of which will be paid for with grants from the federal and state government.

The road reconstruction will slow down traffic in the corridor, improve pedestrian access, and most importantly make it a more aesthetically pleasing place.

The economic development of the site should begin shortly thereafter in an attempt to limit the negative impact the project will have on local residents and visitors. What it will bring to the area is the current discussion taking place. We know there will be a mix of housing and retail along the south portion of the corridor. The possibility exists for a hotel to be placed on the site, in addition to additional commercial properties. The potential for this site is truly limitless, particularly when positioned next to the growing RPI campus.

Below is a recent picture of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, or EMPAC, that Rensselaer is scheduled to open up next fall.

As has been discussed on this blog and throughout the City for quite some time, there is a significant amount of interest in the redevelopment of Troy. When this project officially gets underway early next year, it will be one of the main reasons for all the talk.

Have a great holiday weekend, be safe!