Marissa Gonzalez

Marissa Gonzalez

MALTA — On Dec. 13 the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership released the inaugural Saratoga County Real Estate Index, which portrays the county as a desirable place to live and do business, with strong residential, commercial and industrial markets, and a need for additional inventory in each sector. 

The index also presented the results of a Pulse Survey that signaled an optimistic view of Saratoga County’s real estate sector. Among real estate professionals surveyed, 94 percent describe the residential sales sector as strong, very strong or stable; 88 percent see the commercial leasing market as strong, very strong or stable; and 78 percent characterize the commercial sales market as strong or very strong. The Saratoga County Real Estate Index was unveiled during a luncheon event attended by more than 100 business executives and professionals at the Hyatt Place Saratoga/Malta.

“Saratoga County’s vibrant real estate market is critically important because its reach extends into all sectors of our economy,” said Marty Vanags, President of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership.

“As our first-ever Real Estate Index shows, Saratoga County continues to be a preferred location for both businesses and homeowners, which bodes well for sustained economic growth in one of the fastest-growing counties in the Northeast.”

The Saratoga County Real Estate Index covered residential, commercial, and industrial areas of real estate. According to the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership the report showed:

Residential:

•Saratoga County led the Capital Region in single-family home sales over the past year with 248, though that figure declined from the previous year, as was the case in much of the area.

•Saratoga County was the only local county to see an increase in single-family home inventory over the past year, with housing stock rising 8 percent to just over 1,600 units.

•In 2017, the 708 single- unit building permits issued in Saratoga County were more than double the closest area county.

•Median home prices rose slightly, from $223,000 in 2017 to $228,000 in 2018.

Commercial:

•The amount of urban office space has fallen from 75,000 square-feet in 2014 to just under 12,000 square-feet today, with the vacancy rate falling from 12 percent to 2 percent.

•The amount of suburban office space has grown from 257,000 square feet in 2014 to just under 355,000 square feet today, with the vacancy rate increasing from 10 to 13 percent.

•Lease rates for both urban and suburban office space dropped slightly over the past year, but remain the highest in the Capital Region.

Industrial:

•Total inventory of just under 10 million square-feet, and vacant space of just under 500,000 square feet, are virtually unchanged from 2014.

•Similarly, the vacancy rate of just under 5 percent is on par with 2014.

•Industrial lease rates in Saratoga County are among highest in the region, but nearly identical to the 2014 rates.

“The Real Estate Index illustrates the strength of Saratoga County’s real estate sector, which is particularly impressive amid the turbulence nationwide,” said Kevin Hedley, Chairman of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership.

“I’m delighted that the Saratoga Partnership continues to generate valuable data that is helping existing businesses plan for the future, and enticing prospective businesses to look more closely at what Saratoga County has to offer.”

The release of the index was followed by a panel discussion that featured leaders from each real estate sector. Panelists included Tom Roohan, President of Roohan Realty; Richard Sleasman, President and Managing Director of CBRE- Albany; Matthew Harrison, Vice President, Residential Lending, Adirondack Trust; and John Allen, Partner at Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna LLP. The presenting sponsor of the event was Adirondack Trust Company. Silver sponsors were The Janack Group, Julie & Co. Realty LLC, and Whiteman Osterman and Hanna LLP. Bronze sponsors were C.T. Male Associates and Roohan Realty.

Photos by Josh Gilheany.

SCHUYLERVILLE — On Dec. 15 volunteers showed up to Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery (NYGSNS) to personally lay just over 12,000 holiday wreaths on each gravesite to honor and remember veterans for the Wreaths Across America drive. Cemetery Director Scott Lamb estimates between 3,500

and 4,000 individuals showed up to volunteer. Roughly two full semi-loaded trucks transported all 12,000 wreaths.

“Thank you to everybody that helped support it. If you don’t have the folks donating the wreaths you’re not going to have the ceremony. 12,000 wreaths this year is a great goal but we’re going to have to reach 13,000 next year,” Lamb said. The cemetery adds roughly1,000 gravesites every year.

Soon after the holidays the cemetery begins fundraising to reach next year’s goal.

“There was a time where there was only 300 or 400 wreaths here. So to reach our goal of 13,000 next year is going to take some fundraising, starting probably within the next month or two,” he added.

Before the wreath laying, a 30-minute ceremony took place at noon EST and simultaneously at 1,440 cemeteries across the country and internationally. This years ceremony was performed by the Civil Air Patrol. According to Lamb, The Patriot Guard Riders of Eastern New York is a major sponsor for this undertaking. Other sponsors included many local and countywide American Legions along with 45 other fundraising groups.

Wreaths Across America began in 1992 when Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Co. shipped a surplus of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. In 2005 photos of his efforts were discovered on the Internet and has since gained national attention.

The wreath retirement ceremony will take place on Jan. 26 at NYGBSNS located at 200 Duell Rd. in Schuylerville. It will begin at 8 a.m. Volunteers are asked to bring a broomstick without the brush attached to carry wreaths for disposal. Lamb asks that if anyone would like to replace a wreath with the Star of David or the Muslim Crescent, contact NYGBSNS. To find out more call 518-581-9128.

SARATOGA COUNTY — While this holiday season will be spent celebrating with friends and family, and looking forward to the blessings of a New Year, the law enforcement community across New York State will take to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives.

Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Edward Kinowski announced on Dec. 13 that Saratoga County police agencies will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving, this holiday season. The impaired driving crackdown runs from Dec. 15,2018 untilJan. 1, 2019.During this period New York State Police, CountySheriffandmunicipallaw enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force. 

STOP-DWI stands for “SpecialTrafficOptionsProgram forDrivingWhileImpaired.”State Legislature created the program in 1981; it empowers counties to coordinate local efforts to reduce alcohol and drug-related traffic crashes. The STOP-DWI Holiday Crack Down is one of many state- wide enforcement initiatives promoted by STOP-DWI NY and the Governor’sTrafficSafety Committee. The State-wide STOP- DWI Crack Down Campaign also targets the 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Super Bowl weekend and St. Patrick’s Day.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug- related fatalities, still many lives are lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers.

Research shows that high- visibility enforcement can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem. Highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

STOP-DWI is financially self-sustaining. Efforts are funded entirely from fines paid by convicted drunken drivers. According to stopdwi.org New York’s STOP-DWI program is the Nation’s first and only self- sustaining impaired driving program. Other states have implemented components of self- sufficiency, but none to the degree of New York State.

STOP-DWI has a mobile app called “have a plan” which gives users convenient resources to locate and call a taxi, create a designated driver list, information on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels and way to report a suspected a drunk driver. The app is available for Apple, Android and Windows smartphones. To download the app visit www. stopdwi.org/mobileapp.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Alpine Sport Shop located at 399 Clinton St. in Saratoga Springs has been selected as one of the “Top Shops” in the Northeast by Freeskier magazine. One out of these 10 shops will be crowned topshopoftheNortheastandwill continue on as a contender to win the top shop in North America title.

The contest, which began a little after Thanksgiving, selected 10 ski shops in the Northeast; the top shop is selected based on how many votes they receive from the general public online through Freeskier’s website.

Alpine Sport Shop has been in business since 1941, 77 years. It has been at their current location for almost 50 years. The shop, which is reminiscent of a ski chalet complete with a working fireplace, was built by the father of current owner Cathy Hay and her husband Jack Hay. The shop is a full service ski shop selling everything from skis, snowboardsandrelatedequipment, snowshoes and winter apparel. The store provides a variety of services to ski and snowboard equipment, including ski tuning, boot repairs and more. Customers can also rent skis and snowboards and plan ski trips through Alpine Sport Shop.

The shop has outfitted generations of skiers according to Terri-Lynne Pellegri, an employee of Alpine Sport shop for more than 20 years.

“We’re in the business of selling fun,” she says.

“And it’s pretty wild because you have generations of people that shop here. There are people that come here, that came in as kids and now they’re outfitting their grandchildren with skis here,” she added.

Alexandra Norton, another employee of Alpine Ski Shop, suspects the store appeared on Freeskier’s radar through word of mouth. Throughout the contest Alpine Sport Shop has posted promotional videos with over 5,000 views combined on their Facebook page. The most viewed with 3.1 K views compares Alpines years in business to others such as Cheerios and M&M’s, all 77 years old as well.

“It’s a really fun way to get the word out there about Alpine Sport Shop and it’s also a nice way for customers to recognize a place where they love to shop and like to come to,” Pellegri said about the contest.

Alpine Sport Shop currently holds seventh place in the top 10 shops in the Northeast with almost 1400 votes. Other regions include the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West, the Rocky Mountains and Canada. Voting closed on Dec. 13.

Thursday, 13 December 2018 12:18

Ballston Hannaford, Finally Approved

BALLSTON — After a tumultuous 15 years for the Rossi family, and their 76-acre property in Ballston, it was decided that their land will finally see a Hannaford supermarket.

At a Nov. 28 planning board meeting, Hannaford Supermarkets received approval to build on the Rossi’s property, off Rt. 50/67 (Church Avenue) in Ballston. Construction is expected to begin in the spring, according to Frank Rossi II. Rossi is the son of property owners Frank Sr. Rossi and Rose Marie Rossi.

“The entire history of the first Walmart project through the approval of the Hannaford project has been about 15 years in the making. Obviously, with my parents celebrating their 80th birthdays in the past couple years, it’s been a very tough on them during the lows, but they are optimistic that they’ll finally see something built on the property in their lifetime,” Rossi II said.

Fifteen years ago the initial plans were to build a Walmart on the property, but in Nov. 30, 2016, Walmart had walked away from the project. According to Rossi, that same day just hours later he received a phone call saying Hannaford was interested.

The supermarket will be approximately 38,000 square- feet in size and will take up 22 of 76-acres. Rossi II is working with Tom Savino of CBRE to market the remainder of the property.

“We’re optimistic that with the development of the Hannaford store, it will drive interest from other users,” says Rossi II.

Highway improvements will also have to be made and will begin around the same time as construction. According to Sophia Morruso, Senior Planner for Ballston, part of the Rossi Planned Development District requires the construction of a loop road so that it will immediately be serving Hannaford.

According to a press release from Hannaford, the new location could bring between 100-110 full time and part-time jobs. The Ballston store will be located between existing Hannaford supermarket locations in Milton and Malta. Hannaford supermarkets operate 181 stores in the Northeast located in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, with 51 stores in New York, alone.

Thursday, 13 December 2018 12:15

The Ballston Spa Holiday Parade

Photos by SuperSource Media, LLC.

BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa Holiday Parade took place on Dec. 7. The parade step off was at 6:30 p.m. and ended on Front St. with Santa Claus lighting the tree. The tree was decorated with hand-painted “village of friends” gingerbread characters. The parade is a home- town-style holiday tradition, with fire trucks, floats, animals, kids and Santa parading down the main street of the village.

The parade highlighted the Toys for Tots campaign, in partnership with the Ballston Spa Community Emergency Corps, Saratoga County Sheriff Department and U.S. Marine Corps. Volunteers from these organizations were on hand to collect the donations of new, unwrapped toys from spectators. Ballston Spa Community Emergency Corps is still collecting unwrapped gifts for the Toys for Tots drive until Dec. 15. They are seeking toys for all age groups but are in need of toys for children in the 10-to-15-year age group. Toys can be dropped off at the Ballston Spa Community Emergency Corps located at 78 Thompson St. in Ballston Spa at any time. For more information call 518-885-1478.

Photos by SuperSource Media LLC.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Dec. 7 Saratoga Springs Police Department and Fire Department delivered over two-hundred toys to Franklin Community Center located at 10 Franklin St. in Saratoga Springs. Toys collected came from a charitable hockey game held at Saratoga Springs Ice Skating Rink on Dec. 1. Saratoga Springs Police Department played the Saratoga Springs Fire Department and collected toys during the free event. Toys that were collected will go to the center’s holiday assistance program for families in need.

Thursday, 06 December 2018 14:25

Snow Ball Raised Nearly $40,000

Co-Chairs of the Snowball Mary Gavin, Heather Straughter & Kristie Roohan. Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — TheSnowBallhostedbytheFlower and Fruit Mission of Saratoga Hospital was held on Dec. 1. The dance took place at the Canfield Casino located in Saratoga Springs. This year the organization raised just under $40,000. Money raised by tickets, raffles and cookies sold will support the women’s health services at Saratoga Hospital. According to Susan Halstead, the President of the Flower and Fruit Mission, money raised this year will have a direct impact to education and hospital renovations.

Most recently the Flower and Fruit Mission pledged $50,000 every year for five years, totaling $250,000, to help with renovations of the William J. Hickey Women’s Health Services of Saratoga Hospital. Last year’s Snow Ball raised $54,000 and in 2016 Flower and Fruit raised $131,222 in assets.

“It was a really spectacular evening. The Canfield Casino is just such a beautiful setting for the kick-off of the winter season. The ladies were dressed to impress; there were a lot of beautiful gowns, a lot of tuxedos. You could have been stepping back in time,” Halstead said.

The Snow Ball, held on the first Saturday in December, is the largest fundraiser and kicks off their holiday season with festive décor, cocktails, dinner and dancing. It has been a long-standing tradition with the hospital that dates back to the 1950’s. The organization’s relationship with the hospital has spanned over 100 years.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Shortly after the re-opening of Cantina’s new location in June, co-owner, Heath Ames teased an event space and possible rooftop bar in the future but said the plans were just tentative. Just six months later these plans are in motion and are going through the city’s Design Review Commission (DRC).

On Nov. 5 Jeff Ames, husband of Heath Ames and co-owner of Cantina, applied to the DRC to make changes that would allow for a rooftop bar at the existing Cantina restaurant on Broadway. Changes will include extending an existing staircase up through roof level, new rooftop equipment screening, new guard rails to match the existing second floor railing, a privacy wall on the north side of the building and seasonal sun sails.

Plans also include a second floor event space complete with men's and women's bathrooms, a separate catering kitchen, a bar, a space for live performances, buffet tables, a food station and multiple dining tables. The second floor has a balcony over- looking Broadway and windows that double as doors. Bonacio Construction was the building entity for the new location and will be for the additions as well.

Cantina is now located at 408 Broadway, the former home to Lillian’s restaurant. At the time of the re-opening, both Jeff and Heath called the new location Cantina 2.0 and said they had always had their eye on this location.

On Dec. 5 the Cantina rooftop project went before the city’s DRC for a historic review of the rooftop and its associated structures. According to Bradley Birge, Administrator of Planning and Economic Development, the Cantina rooftop project only requires approval from the DRC. He says their application was discussed at the meeting and the Commission was very supportive of the proposed use of the rooftop space.

“They did ask for more information and consideration of materials and design for the proposed rooftop structures including the north wall and south stair tower. They did not take any action on the application last night; rather, they continued the application to the meetings in January,” Birge said.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Casino Hotel broke ground on Nov. 23 on a new capital improvement project that will add an outdoor gaming terrace to the property. Estimated to be completed in the spring of 2019, the outdoor gaming terrace will feature 50 slot machines along the apron of the casino’s historic harness track. Two Capital Region firms have been selected to work on

the outdoor gaming terrace. AJA Architecture and Planning of Glens Falls will oversee the development of the terrace. The project will be completed by Saratoga Springs contractor, Bonacio Construction, Inc.

The 1,800 square-foot covered gaming terrace features an innovative design that will allow for guests to enjoy the outdoor space throughout different climates. Infrared heating panels will provide comfortable temperatures through the colder months, and vaulted ceiling fans will be used to cool the space during the spring and summer. The casino’s design team has utilized custom louvered glass panels that provide constant and ample air-circulation, allowing guests to smoke. The terrace’s glass panels will also provide slot players with a unique vantage point of the harness track during racing season.

“We’re very much looking forward to adding this highly requested amenity to our property,” says Alex Tucker, General Manager of Saratoga Casino Hotel.

“This project will be the first ofa number of new exciting changes we have planned for 2019.”

Fifty slot machines of varying denominations will be featured in the gaming terrace. A new entrance will be created on the casino floor, allowing guests to seamlessly traverse between the outdoor gaming terrace and the rest of the casino.

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