New Public-Private-Academic Partnership Announced In Cohoes

Oct 23, 2017

The City of Cohoes, New York has teamed up with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s School of Architecture and a regional real estate company to develop a key area of the Spindle City for public access.

There has been an ambitious effort by city government to "grow" Cohoes, which has made a leap from being an outdated mill town to a family-oriented residential municipality.  Situated at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, the city has three waterfronts that are inaccessible to the public. Democratic Mayor Shawn Morse says that's about to change.  "We are committed to the waterfront, and we are committed to the downtown and to the hill and to the island and to the rest of the city. I told people 'Just remember, it's one block at a time.' It's taken a long time for us to become an old mill town, and it's going to take a long time till we become the Utopia of all small cities. But I promised the citizens when I ran that we would be an All-American city once again, and we are well on our way."

The first phase of the project to open up the waterfront involves RPI School of Architecture students designing access and amenities. The concepts will be displayed at the Cohoes Music Hall in December.  Todd Curley is the Vice President of Prime Companies, which is also involved in the effort.   "I wanna see what the concepts are for this. And what I'd like to do is hopefully take some pieces of what's put together from these students and incorporate it into a development so you can come back after graduation, or hopefully before graduation, some of you, and see what you've been able to accomplish."

Evan Douglis is Dean of RPI’s School of Architecture:   "For everyone who comes to the final reviews, you're gonna see an incredible amount of diversity in terms of design proposals. This is certainly due to the creative authorship of the students, but without the support of the faculty we wouldn't be where we will be a month from now. So those guys deserve an enormous amount of credit and I look forward to the work that comes out."

The Cohoes Riverfront project has the following objectives: reconnect the city to the waterfront; re-envision Cohoes’ recreational and ecological waterfront for the 21st century; re-vitalize the city through social, educational, and cultural linkages to the community and beyond; and re-imagine a housing and lifestyle initiative to make Cohoes an “age-friendly city.”

Phase two kicks off next year, exploring housing alternatives for seniors and mixed-use development.