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March 25, 2013

TROY COUPLE SAVING DOWNTOWN’S “MOST ENDANGERED” BUILDING

Filed under: Business,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 9:48 am

For Immediate Release

Contact: Vic Christopher, 917-693-7430 vicchristopher@me.com
Heather LaVine, 301-466-0309 lavineheather@gmail.com

Troy Couple Saving Downtown’s “Most Endangered” Building

Historic Clark House at 207 Broadway to be Preserved

TROY, N.Y. (03/25/13) — One of the most endangered buildings in downtown Troy has been spared from the wrecking ball.

The Clark House (207 Broadway, TroyOn Friday, Heather LaVine and Vic Christopher purchased 207 Broadway with plans to stabilize the building and return street-level retail. The upper floors will be mothballed while the couple meets with residential developers.

“Right now it’s an eyesore. But this is a beautiful building in the heart of downtown,” said Christopher. “And it would have been knocked down for a parking lot if someone didn’t step in to save it.”

Last year, the husband-and-wife team purchased and rehabbed 12 Second St. in Troy, where they opened the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar in November. The rear corners of 12 Second St. and 207 Broadway are adjacent, and plans include connecting the wine bar to the new property via a shared garden walkway.

“People say we’re crazy for doing this, but we know this is hard work. And it make sense for us,” LaVine said. “Right now we’re turning away business because we don’t have the space. 207 allows us to create event space and open up additional retail opportunities in our neighborhood. We’d be crazy not to do this.”

THE CLARK HOUSE

The four-story, 10,900 square-foot building at 207 Broadway was constructed in 1876. It was once home to a boarding house and hotel, known as “The Clark House,” which featured many industrial, manufacturing and retail tenants through the years. From 1934 until 1979 the building was home to “The Tavern,” a popular Troy restaurant. The building’s sole remaining tenant is Broadway News, which has operated continuously since 1934.

While the property has a rich history and historical significance, deterioration and neglect have resulted in serious structural issues. In recent months, the veneer wall located on the south side of the property collapsed, exposing the building to the elements and igniting the talk of demolition.

LaVine and Christopher plan to stabilize the structure and rehabilitate the street-level commercial storefronts along Broadway, while securing the top three floors for future redevelopment. A small block building that is currently part of the parcel will serve as an expansion area for the adjacent Charles F. Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar.

“The Clark House was one of Troy’s most prominent select family hotels during the Victorian era,” said Troy historian Don Rittner. “It is exciting to see this great architectural treasure brought back to life by a couple I know will put the same kind of thought and conviction in its restoration as shown with their recent wine bar project.”

LaVine and Christopher purchased the property from SCC Development LLC for $80,000. There were no banks or realtors involved in the transaction.

“We’re sending a message with this project,” Christopher said. “We hope to inspire others with this investment. We have hope for this building, hope for this city. And we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty.”

PROPERTY SPECS

Acquisition: $80,000
Stabilization & beautification: $90,000
Retail fit-up: $100,000

Total Investment: $270,000

For information on this historic building, see Don Rittner’s essay on Troy’s top 10 endangered buildings of Troy, at: http://www.donrittner.com/his186.html

For high-resolution photos, logos, architectural renderings and plans for the site, visit: http://www.duncancrary.com/clients/clarkhouse.html

For information, contact:

Vic Christopher, 917-693-7430 vicchristopher@me.com
Heather LaVine, 301-466-0309 lavineheather@gmail.com
Don Rittner (for building history), drittner@aol.com

Rendering of Proposed Garden behind 12 Second St. & 207 Broadway

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