A massive revitalization plan in downtown Troy has hit another roadblock. Here is the latest chapter in the Monument Square saga.
Many had pinned their hopes for the Collar City's future on one of Troy's most important development sites. The idea was that the 1.5-acre site on River Street would transform downtown.
In early 2014, then-Mayor Lou Rosamilia named Kirchhoff Properties of Pleasant Valley, New York as "the preferred developer at One Monument Square." Plans were made for 20,00- square feet on the building's ground floor to be allocated to the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market, which backed out of the project in November.
There were bumps in the road. An opposition group came together, plans changed, and it was decided that Troy City Hall would not move to the new building.
Then last week, the project crumbled when Kirchoff announced it was terminating its contract with Troy to redevelop the site. City Council President Carmella Mantello calls the decision "unfortunate." "As I've been saying all along, the initial RFP, the initial proposal by Kirchoff, was a very good proposal, and unfortunately, as time went on, they substantially changed the original proposal, and so the proposal that was in front of the city was not at all what the original proposal was. Seeing that we're now looking at a $650,000 hole in this year's budget, because the past three years revenue from the sale of the closing on that property for $650,000 was included in the city's budget, for the past two years and then this year."
Kirchoff officials were not available for comment, but sent over a copy of their press release, which criticizes the way the city had handled the project, noting that at one point, the city stopped reviewing site plans, even waiting five months before commenting on an October 2015 site plan submission, effectively derailing progress.
In the release Kirchhoff apparently has no hard feelings, even wishing Troy and Mayor Patrick Madden well in redeveloping the site. Madden says with Kirchoff out, it's "back to the starting block" for One Monument Square. "It does give us an opportunity to re-look at the site. It's been a few years since it went out to prospective developers. Some market conditions have changed a little bit, but also the community has shown increasing interest in the site and what lands there, so we'll try to craft a process that at least give people an opportunity to have a say."
Kirchoff's abandoned project marks the third time redevelopment plans have been scrubbed. Madden continues: "A great deal of community input surfaced during the last approval process, both for and against the layout, the design and the use. We will look to create a process that incorporates that passion at the outset this time. Clearly, not everybody is going to get everything they want, but we will do our best to provide avenue to provide and consider that input."
Mantello says a new RFP is expected to go out soon. "It's a critical project, not only in Troy, but for the Capital Region, and I certainly know that there are developers out there that certainly can do a great project at that site."
Madden expects the process to revitalize redevelopment plans will "get under way quickly."