First Columbia Brings 500-Plus Jobs to Downtown Troy

A year after the state’s restacking initiative removed more than 600 Department of Health jobs from the Hedley Building, First Columbia has moved in new businesses representing more than 500 new jobs to the Riverfront Complex.

“When the state left we were down to 32 percent occupancy in a very bad commercial office market,” said Deborah Mikhitarian-Russell, long time partner of First Columbia. “We decided to make a bold move and upgrade the building to Tier II quality, based on the lower vacancy rates of higher quality properties such as First Columbia’s Century Hill Plaza in Latham. We’ve invested $7 million into the building adding a significant amount of parking and amenities and are very happy to see the market react so positively and so quickly.”

2013 leasing results show eight new leases consisting of 116,000 square feet and 45,540 square feet of renewals bring the building occupancy to more than 75 percent leased with rates increasing by 13.6 percent year over year.

The following tenants relocated to Hedley Park Place in 2013: MacSource Communications, a business communications subsidiary of Meridian Group International; KW Mission Critical, International Data Center Engineers, Guth DeConzo Consulting Engineers; LinguaLinx Solutions, a multilingual marketing and technology services company; Capital Region Economic Opportunity Center (EOC); Stockton Barker & Mead LLP, and Workforce Development Institute.

Express Scripts, a tenant of 20 years, recently renewed and expanded its lease at Hedley, growing into a total of 45,530 square feet of office space. First Columbia Construction Services is renovating the space for the prescription benefit management company.

EOC recently relocated from the area that will be developed into the next phase of the City Station Campus in South Troy, EOC will be hosting a ribbon cutting this Friday at 1 p.m., with a grand opening scheduled for March.


“We’re fueling the economy of Troy by bringing new companies and a fresh workforce to downtown. These are high quality tenants,” said Victoria Harris, marketing director of First Columbia. “The young educated workforce really want to be in the city, where they can walk to shops and restaurants and enjoy the riverfront amenities.”

Jeremy McDonald, 47, principal of Guth Deconzo Consulting Engineers said he encouraged his firm to make the move from the Albany Pine Bush to Troy.

“My feelings about Troy changed for the better 10 years ago, when I started to visit Brown’s Brewing Co. and the farmers’ market,” said McDonald, who earned a bachelors degree from RPI in 1989 and his masters in 1992. “There are a lot of positive things going on. There’s a good trend here.”

According to McDonald, he and his other 10 co-workers are making the most of their new downtown digs by walking to lunch at the nearby restaurants and sticking around in town after work hours to socialize.

“Where we used to be located, we called it ‘The Bubble’ because we had to drive everywhere,” he said of the firm’s former suburban setting. “Now, sometimes I’ll ride my bike to work from Cohoes.”

Harris said McDonald and his firm are just one of many examples of how First Columbia’s efforts are working to help make Troy a place to live, work and play.

Prospective tenants can learn more about the properties and space available for lease by calling listing broker Deborah Mikhitarian-Russell at (518) 213-1088.

“The current administration in Troy has been a tremendous help in achieving our recent success,” said First Columbia President Kevin Bette. “Mayor Lou Rosamilia, Monica Kurzejeski and the City of Troy as a whole are really implementing policies and changes that will to do some great things.”


In 2006, First Columbia commissioned a master plan to redevelop roughly 25 city blocks surrounding its Hedley Park Place and Flanigan Square properties. Plans for “The Hedley District” include dozens of new office and condominium buildings, a seven-story hotel and a riverside promenade.

“Our goal is to help make Troy a place where you can truly live, work and play,” Harris said.