Monday, March 27, 2017

2 cafe rehab projects on Troy Planning Commission agenda

Former Uncle Sam's House
A pair of proposed cafes and a convenience store/deli are on this week's agenda of the Troy Planning Commission. Both need to go through the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and Site Plan Review processes.

The first cafe proposal, from Kyle Engstrom, would convert office space at 40 River Street to a cafe and four dwelling units. The building was headquarters of the community gardens organization Capital Roots until it moved in 2014.

Engstrom is an architect from Brooklyn who was in the news several years ago when he and his wife Graciela Monroy, also an architect, purchased the former Casale's Tavern building in Troy's Little Italy neighborhood as a rehab project.

The second cafe proposal, from John Ambuhl, would be a cafe and "apartment fit up" at 2423 5th Avenue. The limestone-faced Beaux Arts-style building, just north of the Collar City Bridge, has had a number of uses since its construction in 1914, including being home to the Seton Day Nursery and to Uncle Sam's House, a facility for low-income military veterans.

Ambuhl, who works in information technology for the New York State Teachers Retirement System, has rehabbed several buildings in Troy. When he gets this one completed his wife,  Susan M. Dunckel, will be moving her Sweet Sues business in. She tells me Josh Coletto of the Chefs' Consortium and formerly chef at Finnbar's Pub in Troy "has agreed to help with the menu and event planning."

The convenience store being proposed by Naseem Tariq of Waterford involves conversion of the former Sue's Place diner at 668 Second Avenue, locally known for the "Heart of Lansingburgh" sign hanging out front.

The Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. this Wednesday in the fifth-floor City Council Chambers in City Hall, 433 River Street.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

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