Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mansion-to-restaurant project in Glens Falls

The former McEchron mansion.
GLENS FALLS -- A new restaurant in the planning stages for the city certainly will be a safe bet.

The onetime home of 19th Century businessman and philanthropist William McEchron, which developers hope to turn into a first-floor restaurant and second- and third-floor apartments, will make McEchron's huge personal safe part of the plan.

Work on converting the building at Ridge and Maple streets is expected to begin early in the new year once all necessary city permitting is obtained. John Carr, a partner in the development group, this week told the City Planning Board the safe will be preserved, perhaps as a wine closet. However, such discussion is a bit premature since no tenant for the restaurant space has yet been found.

Daniel Brown, the Planning Board’s architectural consultant, said the safe has historical significance, but "oddly enough, we could not get any moving company interested in moving it, even across the street to City Hall.”

The house was built in 1891 for the family of McEchron, who was village president (the community switched from village to city status in 1908) as well as a prominent entrepreneur with interests in paper, lumber banking and insurance. In 1921, McEchron’s daughters gave the house to the city to be used as a health center as well as community meeting space. The building is listed on both the state and national Registers of Historic Places.

Carr, owner of the Adirondack Pub & Brewery in Lake George, and partners are seeking a 10-year tax abatement for the project through the Gens Falls Industrial Development Agency. If granted, the value of improvements would be exempt from taxes for five years, and 50% percent of the value would be exempt in years six through 10. The owners would continue to pay property taxes on the building’s current value.

The IDA board will hold a public hearing on the request at 7:30 a.m. next Thursday (December 13) at City Hall.

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