Two Albany County Projects Win Statewide Preservation Awards

Preservation League of New York State will present awards at Annual Meeting in NYC

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Altamont Free Library - Ron Ginsberg

ALBANY, NY (05/01/2014)(readMedia)-- The Preservation League of New York State has selected two projects in Albany County to receive its prestigious Excellence in Historic Preservation Award. This statewide awards program honors notable achievements in retaining, promoting and reusing New York State's irreplaceable architectural heritage.

"These projects illustrate the broad range of preservation opportunities in New York State," said Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League. "From a community-led effort to give new life to a relic of the era of rail, to the establishment of a vibrant artistic hub in a building that was once on the brink of demolition, we commend these efforts to protect authentic examples of our past."

Academy Lofts, Albany

"The metamorphosis of a dilapidated former parochial school, built in 1906, into low-cost loft apartments and workspace for artists is a testament to the spirit of collaboration that marked this effort from its inception," said DiLorenzo. "Slated for demolition a decade ago, Academy Lofts now provides live/work space and a multi-purpose performance venue, business incubator and community center for the arts. The mere promise of the project has catalyzed rehabilitation within the Ten Broeck Triangle Historic District. The stalwart efforts of all of those involved is truly deserving of recognition."

Contributing to the success of this project were Co-Developer/Owner: Albany Housing Authority; Developer: Norstar Development USA; Contractor: Richard Beaudry Construction of Colonie; Architect: Dave Sadowsky Architect, PC of Albany; Preservation Consultant, TAP, Inc. of Troy; Creative Enterprise Partner: Albany Barn, Inc.; Planning/IDA/Local Support: City of Albany; Tax Credit Syndicator: Stratford Capital Group of Peabody, MA; Equity Investor: KeyBank NA; Construction Lender: JP Morgan Chase Bank NA. Funding support was provided by New York State Homes & Community Renewal, Housing Finance Agency; Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; and M&T Bank Corporation. The project utilized 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits; the New York State Commercial Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, and Federal Historic Tax Credits.

Located at a prominent corner in the Arbor Hill / Ten Broeck Triangle Historic district the former St. Joseph's Academy once stood decaying in one of Albany's most challenged neighborhoods. Now, in addition to providing 22 affordable apartments for artists, Academy Lofts encourages Arbor Hill residents and visitors to take pride in their historic district and fosters a stronger sense of community in the area. Further, the effort has provided a resource that will contribute to Arbor Hill becoming a neighborhood of choice.

Darren Scott, the Director of Planning and Development for the Albany Housing Authority said, "Thank you to the Preservation League of New York State for recognizing the role that the affordable housing community can play in the preservation and revitalization of what are often both our most treasured and at-risk neighborhoods. The Albany Housing Authority accepts this award on behalf of our entire team of funders, project participants and neighborhood stakeholders whose support and hard work allow the Authority to undertake transformative projects such as this."

Altamont Free Library, Altamont

"The rebirth of the once-neglected 1897 D&H Railroad Station illustrates the sustainability of the Village of Altamont and the importance of history to its citizens," said DiLorenzo. "The League has watched the progress of this effort since its formative years and has provided technical advice. We were delighted to see Library trustees among the participants in our Energy Conservation in Historic Buildings program. Too often, libraries struggle to keep their programs in historic buildings, while you sought one out and gave it new life. The project should serve as a model throughout the state and region, and shows what a small community can do when everyone is made to feel like a stakeholder."

When it was built in 1897, the Delaware & Hudson Trains Station connected the people of Altamont with the wider world. When that same building reopened in 2012 as the Altamont Free Library, it served a similar purpose. The conversion took the effort of nearly 1,000 donors and volunteers, the support of local leaders, and a great deal of tenacity. Now, a historic structure that is integral to the Village's history is providing an accessible home to the Altamont Library and improved library services to the community.

Contributing to the success of this project were the staff and board of the Altamont Free Library; Architect: Janet Null, Argus Architecture of Troy; Technical Assistance: Upper Hudson Library System; Period Reproductions: Merli Manufacturing; Volunteer Clerk of the Works: Frank Corradi; Construction: T. Miller Construction, Albany. Funding support was provided by the New York State Council on the Arts – Architecture Planning & Design Program; New York State Education Department – Public Library Construction Grants; and the New York State Environmental Protection Fund – Historic Preservation Grant Program.

"The Altamont Library is fortunate to be a part of a community that understands the value of preserving its past and investing in its future," said Judith Wines, Library Director. "Thanks to strong support from the Village of Altamont and Town of Guilderland and our state and federal elected officials, and a tremendous effort on the part of our citizens, the Library is thrilled to have taken up residence in a striking part of the Village's history. While the services the Library provides today would be unrecognizable to passengers who used the station in 1897, the connections it forges, both within Altamont and between Altamont and the outside world are as vital and enriching as they were a century ago."

The awards will be presented at the Preservation League's Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony in New York City at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14th at the historic New York Yacht Club, 37 West 44th Street.

The complete list of award winners is: Altamont Free Library Train Station Renovation, Altamont; Academy Lofts, Albany; Williamsburgh Savings Bank, Brooklyn; Holy Rosary Apartments, Rochester; New York City Hall Renovation, New York; Donald Judd Home & Studio, New York; and Warburton Lofts at Philipse Manor Hall Historic District, Yonkers. St. Mark's Historic Landmark Fund in New York will be honored for Organizational Excellence.

"As we mark our 40th Anniversary in 2014, the Preservation League is looking forward to exploring not just the past, but the future of historic preservation. Many of the 2014 award winners provide valuable examples for other practitioners by incorporating energy efficiency techniques, adaptive reuse strategies and Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits," said DiLorenzo. "Each year, we are impressed by the number and variety of laudable nominations, and this year was no exception. We are delighted to celebrate the transformation of the former St. Joseph's Academy to Academy Lofts, and the former D&H Railroad Station to the Altamont Free Library, and to give two very different yet admirable preservation efforts the statewide recognition they deserve."

The Preservation League's Excellence in Historic Preservation awards program is funded by a generous grant from the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Foundation.

The Preservation League of New York State invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth, and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes. We lead advocacy, economic development, and education programs all across the state.



For Academy Lofts

Darren Scott, Albany Housing Authority


For Altamont Free Library

Judith Wines, Library Director