A new report is providing details about Glens Falls’ downtown, in an effort to aid bringing new businesses to the area.
Ed Bartholomew, Economic Development Director for Glens Falls and president of EDC Warren County, says the new report, which inventories the city’s available commercial space downtown, provides a more detailed picture of the small city’s revitalization.
“We have a vibrant downtown with retail and commercial, the key for us is to diversity in a greater selection of retail in our Glens Falls downtown area,” said Bartholomew. “We have a great idea of what we have here and what we’d like to look for.”
Bartholomew said community economic leaders are seeking to boost entertainment spaces and perhaps introduce a movie theater to the downtown area.
Bartholomew said the report shows an approximate 12 percent vacancy rate for first-floor downtown retail space. The office space vacancy rate is between 15 and 17 percent.
That puts Glens Falls slightly below the vacancy rate of other area downtowns including Albany and Saratoga Springs.
“Obviously there’s more space in Albany but our vacancy rate is running a little bit less than the Capital District right now from Albany’s sake,” said Bartholomew.
Peter Aust, President and CEO of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the new data will help attract new business.
“We’re going to be able to utilize that as we reach out and promote the amenities that we have here in Glens Falls and identify the companies that might fill some of those spaces and hopefully be able to facilitate new companies coming into the downtown area,” said Aust.
The Rare Earth Wine Bar opened earlier this month on Glen Street. A café, Spot Coffee, is slated to open in February
Another local business, the Sterling & Company Gift Shop, recently announced it will close its doors, but Aust said he’s already seen inquiries from other business to fill the space.
"There's a lot of interest in that space already and that was just announced a few weeks ago and we've been talking to a couple of companies who are very interested in relocating to that space," said Aust. "I think the future looks bright for the city but there's always going to be challenges to keep those retail spaces full in the coming year."
In his recent State of the City address, Glens Falls Mayor “Jack” Diamond announced some new ideas to continue the downtown area’s revitalization through working with other communities. He proposed working more closely with neighboring South Glens Falls, as well as exploring the possibility of taking a regional approach toward funding and operating the Glens Falls Civic Center.
"It is a regional facility and it needs to be supported as such," said Diamond.
Bartholomew praised the efforts by Diamond and other local officials, and said he’s optimistic for 2014.
"We have a great effort underway by Mayor Diamond and the economic group, not only for downtown Glens Falls, but for our region," said Bartholomew. "We know that a strong downtown Glens Falls is a good bellwether for the region."
January 29th, EDC Warren County will host an economic outlook breakfast for the Glens Falls and Warren County area with Albany economist Hugh Johnson.