First Columbia & Hampstead America Buy Key Downtown Property for $1.95 Million

TROY (01/12/21) — Regional developer First Columbia, along with business partner Hampstead America LLC, purchased the long-empty “Verizon Building” in downtown Troy for $1.95 million.

The 35,758 square foot, two-story building is located on a 1.1-acre site at 1776 Sixth Avenue at the foot of the Louis Rubin Memorial Approach, an ornate granite staircase connecting Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to downtown Troy.

“We’re very excited about owning property at the doorstep of RPI,” said Nathaniel Bette, First Columbia project manager. “The Sixth Ave. corridor, where this building is located along, has so much development potential.”

Though First Columbia has already identified several interested tenants, Bette said the purchase was a strategic investment and that the site could be developed for several potential uses.

“One thing that downtown Troy seems to be missing is the type of wide boulevard-style street commercial space that other communities have,” Bette said. “River Street has tight, old-fashioned urban retail that we love, but we need somewhere to put some of the more suburban-style services that don’t fit elsewhere downtown. Sixth Ave. could be that spot.”

On Parking

The site includes a parking lot with 60 spaces, which was leased by the previous owner to a downtown business tenant after the closure of the Uncle Sam Parking Garage.

“We would not have bought this building without parking because we know, from owning 433 River St., that parking is still critical downtown,” Bette said. “Even though downtown Troy is a wonderful, walkable neighborhood, we are still a drive-to community.”

For now, the existing lot provides ample parking for the building but a future use might require structured parking.

Total Rehab

The architectural style of the building can be described as “brick brutalist,” as it features a brick veneer over concrete block exterior walls with strip windows. The interior features solid concrete square columns and a grand lobby space at the lower entrance.

“While the structure is solid, the confusing horseshoe layout features some peculiarities that would probably require a full interior rehab, depending on the use and the tenant’s needs,” Bette said, noting that Verizon used the space for a call center.

First Columbia’s portfolio in Troy is focused on River Street near the Collar City Bridge, including two former textile factories that were converted years ago into offices, and a Marriott hotel, the 1776 Sixth Ave. property will add to the company’s Troy portfolio.