COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Piece by piece, demolition is underway at the former Tobin’s First Prize meatpacking plant. From February 21 through March 7, Exchange Street from Russell Road to Everett Road is closed for demolition of the building
The plant has been sitting vacant for decades, but one neighbor said its history will live on. For Carolyn Martel, seeing it come tumbling down took her on a trip down memory lane. “I have a photo right on my phone of Tobin’s First Prize groundbreaking ceremony,” she said. “Now I’m able to see it come down, and it certainly does need to.”
Martel said Tobin’s supplied jobs for generations of families, including hers. Her family has a special connection with the owner, Fred Tobin. “My dad worked here for many years, and my grandfather started the company with Fred Tobin,” she said.
From her family’s scrapbook, Martel shared pictures of her grandfather, Wilson Codling, breaking ground on the site in May 1924 alongside Tobin. Her family even kept newspaper clippings from 1924. Some of the headlines read, “New Million Dollar Packing Industry For West Albany” and “Mr. Codling of Buffalo in Albany Enterprise.”
Martel says she had a favorite part about her family members working at the plant: “Getting the best hot dogs in town,” she said. “I had hotdogs almost every day. I would bring them even into camp. My mom would put a hot dog in a thermos for me, so I had a lot of hot dogs.”
Colonie Town Supervisor Peter Crummey said it’s time for the building to come down. “The developing company believes it will be down by May of this year,” he said. “Then after that, I suppose it may be highly residential in scope.”
The town of Colonie and the city of Albany are working together by forming a planning and zoning board to guide the project. Crummey hopes this new development will boost the economy and bring new opportunities for Colonie.
Martel says whatever is to come to the site, she’s happy with the role her family played in the history of Colonie. “They are going to make it something useable and good for the community,” she said.