Glens Falls approves facelift for former home of Achenbach’s; tables apartment, medical site projects

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GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Associates of Glens Falls, owner of 220 Glen St., former home of downtown jeweler Achenbach’s, were given the OK by the city Planning Board Tuesday night to make some revisions and new additions to the building.

The current facade of the building facing Glen Street will be replaced with a new one built out of brick. New windows will be installed in the building, and an elevator and new stairwell will be constructed in the rear of the building, which faces a parking lot.

That lot is a key element, too. The alleyway that leads into it cuts between 220 Glen St. and 228, where Associates of Glens Falls is located. Representative Dan Hall told the board that they had discovered that the brick wall on 220 facing the alley had originally been an interior wall, and that the two buildings had at one point been connected. As such, the current wall is more porous than is optimal.

A coat of waterproof emulsion paint will be applied to the wall, with a near-brick color.

The alley-facing wall of 220 Glen Street in Glens Falls.

Associates of Glens Falls is planning to mirror the building’s new front to that of their headquarters across the alley.

Board members expressed excitement around the plan, which included stairways being moved to the back, as well as an elevation that will occur on the ground floor. The former home of Achenbach’s has a floor a few inches lower than street level.

“I’m happy to see the elevation will be sympathetic to the neighborhood, as opposed to what’s there now,” said Daniel Brown, the board’s architectural consultant.

That work will also allow the owners to remove the fire escape currently on the building, which will be made redundant by the installation of a rear stairway.

Apartment project proposed for former warehouse

Tim Moriarty, the owner of a long-defunct warehouse at 178-180 Maple St., came before the board with a site plan to convert the building’s second floor into six apartments. Although the board responded favorably to the plan, they ultimately tabled it with the recommendation that the owners add some missing elements.

“Everything looks okay, except more detail,” said board Chairman Dan Bruno.

The building on the corner of Cooper and Maple streets.

Among the missing details requested by the board were plans for exterior lighting, pavement grading to deal with rainwater and snowmelt, and trash removal.

An agricultural and architectural review would be required once the site plan was updated, due in part to some ideas the owners presented surrounding dealing with rainwater.

A plan was proposed involving arranging plants on the building’s north side, in order to absorb excess water and stop runoff from reaching the Cooper Street land parcel behind the building, which would be developed for parking.

“As far as the landscaping will go, we’re not positive on what kinds of plants will survive there,” Moriarty said.

The building currently houses offices on the first floor, and these will stay.

Board member Bridgit Culligan asked how much Moriarty would be planning to set rent at. The owner gave an estimated $1,100 to $1,200, but said he had more market research to do.

“We don’t want to chase people out of the city, we just want to have a stable space.”

The owners were encouraged to return with an updated site plan at next month’s meeting.

Medical center proposed behind Walgreens

Chris Boyea of Broad & Thomas Partners, LLC, has been before the planning board before. In 2006, he presented plans for the Walgreens Pharmacy which is now situated at 202 Broad St. near Northway Exit 18. That site was built with a second plot of land behind it, with an entrance facing Thomas Street. Now, a business has been found at last to occupy that space.

WellNow Urgent Care, a medical business with locations in Schenectady and Clifton Park, is planning to construct a facility in the second lot. As that space was originally planned with a fast food restaurant in mind, some things are having to change from how they were laid out 14 years ago.

For instance, Boyea raised the point that the previous resident of 202 Broad St. had been an auto dealership, with very little green space. The planned fast food site increased that space from 4 percent to 30 percent, and this plan would increase that even more.

“It’s paid for itself.”

The Walgreens site on Broad Street is seen. The empty spaces below the Walgreens sign would be filled for the first time with the addition of WellNow Urgent Care.

Sewer and stormwater systems are already in place, as is electric supply and a generator.

Some minor concerns were raised over the placement of a ladder as a potential safety risk, and of ensuring a good sidewalk route between the two buildings if patrons of one also needed to visit the other. The biggest concern from the board, though, was the color of the brick, with multiple board members asking if the building sketch Boyea had provided could be redone with red brick, to match the Walgreens site.

“If I were to say ‘needs more cowbell, needs more red,’ that could be done,” Boyea said, to laughs from the board.

The only thing standing in the plan’s way of approval Tuesday night was the location. The Broad Street site is within 500 feet of the town line with Queensbury, and as such, the town needs to be given proper notice.

Boyea will be returning to the next meeting with an updated rendering of the building.

Other business

About four concerned residents attended Tuesday night’s meeting to hear about an item on the agenda that was not discussed. Greenwood Builders, LLC submitted a plan to build three residential lots in a currently empty plot of land between Wallace Drive and Sierra Street.

Chairman Bruno said that the LLC had withdrawn the application, but was expected to resubmit. He also said that if a resident lived within 50 feet of the proposed project, they would be notified.

“We all are,” one resident said while walking out.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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