by Andrea Harwood Palmer
Glen Street Associates LLC is nearing completion on several projects in downtown Glens Falls.
Peter Hoffman, real estate developer and principal of Glen Street Associates LLC, with his wife Suzanne Hoffman,co-owner of the company, has been involved for several years in projects that involve renovation of older structures in the downtown area.
“It really is fun,” Hoffman said. “At my stage of life, I don’t want to build plywood buildings. I really love the restoration projects. When you get done and you see the vitality of the space—when you hear people say it’s fun to work in this space, with high ceilings, or post and beam, or brick walls—it becomes really gratifying.”
Hoffman said the renovation of the old Post Office building at 67 Warren St. is nearly complete. Historic features and the building’s character were preserved, while the infrastructure and utilities were thoroughly updated, he said.
When completed, the Social Security Administration will move into the ground floor. The second story of the building is currently occupied by Glen Street Associates, which relocated from its 100 Glen St. offices.
Hoffman purchased the building in 2011 for $150,000, from St. Mary’s Catholic Church located next door. The church was seeking permission to demolish the building when Hoffman learned of the plans and made an offer to purchase it.
Another project was the renovation of the former Red Cross building at 74 Warren St. That is completed and the space is rented. The ground floor is occupied by commercial tenants, while the second story is a high- end residential apartment. The parking lot was recurbed and refinished with green space and new exterior lighting.
Yet another is the nearby building at 80 Warren St., the previous location of Mailings Made Easy. This will eventually be occupied by Sweet Beet Bistro, owned and operated by Johanna vonGeldern. The restaurant was located in Greenwich for many years. When vonGeldern was forced to close because of the impact of the coronavirus mandates, she decided it was time relocate the business to an area that saw more foot traffic and patrons.
Hoffman gutted 80 Warren St. down to the cinder block walls and completely renovated the inside. All pre-existing wiring was pulled out, and updated electrical wiring put in. The space will have a small back area that will be available to lease.
The front of the building will have an outside terrace with heavy ironwork representation from Briggs Welding out of Whitehall. The rooftop is enclosed with an antique wrought iron fence that Hoffman found in his travels. Antique scrolled iron will be used on the side of the building.
“It’s an absolutely spectacular thing to see,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman said the original plan was to tear the single-block building down, as was the original plan for the Red Cross building. But, he said, both buildings had “such great bones” that they were both worth saving and renovating. The buildings are both 1940s industrial properties.
Both buildings will have about 600-700 square feet available for lease.
Glen Street Associates also owns 79 Warren St., currently inhabited by the Conkling Center and 27 high-end apartments. The structure, known as the Joubert and White building, was previously occupied by James Taylor White, a buckboard manufacturer and carriage builder who invented the leaf spring. Families and companies from all over the country would have their carriages built at the location.
He’s proud that he was able to save these buildings from being razed.
“In most of these cases, they are rather discarded buildings,” he said. “The windows of 79 Warren, Warren Street Square were boarded up and the roof was leaking. It was questionable if it would get knocked down. The Post Office was was slated to get knocked down. Demolition permits had been requested.”
“Today it’s one of the nicest buildings in the central business district. It’s steeped in history and just a beautiful, beautiful structure. To see it be preserved and become vital and important, from taking it out of the waste bin paper basket and show what can be done. Same with the two across the road,” said Hoffman.