GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – South Street, the target of a long-sought dream of revitalization, has had a busy month. With ground broken on a Downtown Revitalization Initiative project years in the making, new businesses in town, and future plans in the works, some may wonder: What do I need to know?
The city of Glens Falls is putting in work to bring change to South Street – and some businesses have followed suit. From the future of the Glens Falls Farmers Market to the block-by-block makeup of the street, here’s everything you need to know about the future of South Street.
In 2017, the city of Glens Falls received a $10 million grant from New York’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Some of that money went to the construction of 14 Hudson, an apartment building and home to Seasoned, a restaurant operated by SUNY Adirondack as part of its culinary arts program. Other funds were formed into smaller grants, used for businesses to invest in equipment, renovations, and other needs around the city.
All of that work made up a bit more than half of the DRI money – leaving $4 million to go towards a new dream for South Street. The city announced a plan in 2019 to create a new community event space at 58 South St., the former home of a Capital Off Track Betting building which was demolished to make way.
The first draft of the plan was to create a space 10,000 square feet in size, fully heated and walled-in to work as a year-round home for the Glens Falls Farmers Market, as well as music and other events. Those plans were frozen in place in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted movement towards a groundbreaking date.
When work was able to continue, the city had to recalibrate its plans. In 2021, Economic Development Director Jeff Flagg first talked about what would become the current version of the South Street plan. Supply costs had spiked the price tag on the project from $4 million to upwards of $6 million, and the city knew it had to scale back on certain elements. Now, the project includes a “three-season” structure expected to cover 5,000 square feet. It will no longer be heated.
The higher price tag has led the city to look to neighboring buildings. Two properties – 45 South and 36 Elm – will be renovated for mixed commercial and event use. Both are currently vacant. Meanwhile, the city hopes to close down the sections of South and Elm streets cradling the corner in order to allow foot traffic during peak event hours.
Business, new and old
The block where South Street’s new event center is going has a lot of vacant storefronts – but, as of just last week, two fewer than before. Cocktail lounge The Golden Monkey and Mexican restaurant Taco Kings Jalisco opened opposite the work site last week – both with business owners who understand that the street is on the grow. The Golden Monkey was previously the home of Glens Falls Bagels, which has since moved to South Glens Falls.
Good food comes alongside good community-building, with something familiar coming just a few doors down at 86 South St. The site is the former home of daycare center It’s A Kidz World, which closed in 2022. Recently, a new childcare facility, Country Meadows Academy, opened house there, offering care for little ones with a philosophy of self-directed learning.
In late 2022, consignment shop Fashion Follies added more to the South Street closet with unique items and clothes of all kinds, just in time for Halloween. The catalog of classic clothes occupies 32 South St., next to Peter’s Diner.
As new faces and a fresh future dot the sidewalk, one longtime South Street staple got back in action at the start of 2023. The downtown New Way Lunch at 21 South St. closed for a total of nearly three years following the COVID-19 pandemic, with the family that has served hot dogs there for 103 years focusing on its Queensbury and Warrensburg locations. The South Street shop was the first, and its revival this year came with an exterior facelift and some new outdoor seating.
Future on South
Glens Falls broke ground at long last on the Event & Market Center project last Friday. Flagg said that the city hopes to have the new center complete and ready for use in fall 2024 – just in time for the final outdoor markets of the year.
A draft of the new design shown to the public in 2022 also included a proposed apartment building with business spaces, to take the place of the current farmer’s market. That plan has yet to be the subject of a formal proposal to the city. During the public meeting where it was unveiled, the proposal drew criticism from locals who felt that the lot would be needed as event parking – especially if the city wants to close down parts of the street for larger events.
Across from the marketplace, a new cocktail lounge and taco stop are great news – but can’t detract completely from the storefronts that remain empty and dark. At last Friday’s groundbreaking, Flagg said that the city would be turning its attention to making good use of the remaining spaces across the street, now that the Event & Market Center is officially under construction.