Inside Rensselaer
* Proctor's Theater

Restoration To Begin on Proctor’s Theater and Chasan Buildings

Rensselaer has announced an agreement with Columbia Development Companies to assume ownership and begin work on Proctor’s Theater and the adjacent Chasan office building on Fourth Street in Troy.

The $14.4 million public-private project, including a $3.3 million Restore New York grant, is an important step in the further revitalization of downtown Troy, according to President Shirley Ann Jackson. The overall project consists of three components: The redevelopment of the Chasan building into office space, the redevelopment of the Proctor’s office building into office space, which includes the restoration of the Proctor’s façade, and the stabilization and environmental remediation of the Proctor’s Theater.

“The university is a committed, long-term partner in the revitalization of downtown Troy,” President Jackson said. “As business, government, and institution leaders seek new economic development opportunities across the state and the Capital Region, we rely on the kind of creative public-private partnership exemplified by this agreement among Rensselaer, Columbia Development, and the city of Troy.”

“This project is a great example of the economic progress that can be achieved when the public and private sectors roll up their sleeves and work shoulder-to-shoulder.”—Claude Rounds

In the first phase of the project, Columbia will convert Chasan into office space. This will be followed by the redevelopment of the Proctor’s Theater office building and façade restoration, along with the environmental remediation of the theater. Rensselaer — current owner of the properties — will become the anchor tenant of Chasan when work is completed next summer. Rensselaer will lease the building and relocate the Institute Advancement team from its current location in the Hedley Building to Chasan to handle expected growth in that organization, bringing about 72 employees into the heart of downtown Troy.

Rensselaer acquired Proctor’s Theater and Chasan at the request of state and local officials to steward the properties and help develop an effective, sustainable redevelopment plan. Since 2002 Rensselaer has invested nearly $1.5 million in the stabilization of Proctor’s Theater and stewardship of both buildings.

Rensselaer’s tenancy in Chasan is the latest in a long series of actions by the university to help bring about the renaissance of downtown Troy. Since 2000, Rensselaer has brought nearly 200 employees into downtown Troy to work at the Hedley, Rice, and Gurley buildings — paying nearly $1 million annually in rent. Through an innovative public-private redevelopment strategy that also included Columbia Development, in 2009 Blitman Residence Commons opened as the newest housing option for Rensselaer undergraduates. This $15 million project brought nearly 200 students to the Sixth Avenue corridor to be housed at Blitman.

This fall, the university celebrated the United Group of Companiy’s opening of the $13 million College Suites at City Station retail and apartment complex on Sixth Avenue between Congress and Ferry Streets. This 184-bed complex houses Rensselaer graduate students.

Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian said, “The redevelopment of the Proctor’s and Chasan buildings is another positive step in revitalizing our downtown. By continuing our partnership with RPI we are creating jobs and encouraging private investment into the Chasan and Proctor’s buildings, both of which will remain on the tax roll as they’ve been since RPI purchased them. I’ve always said the revitalization of downtown wouldn’t be complete without bringing Chasan and Proctor’s back to life and I’m proud to see this project move forward.”

“The Restore New York grant was designed for just this reason, to encourage sustainable community development, create jobs, and attract residents and businesses to our downtown neighborhoods. Empire State Development is pleased to see this project moving forward and to be a part of the revitalization effort. We congratulate all the partners involved for their commitment to building a better and more vibrant community in Troy,” said Empire State Development Capital Region Regional Director Peter Wohl.

“The agreement represents another significant and positive step forward in these efforts,” said Claude Rounds, vice president for administration. “This project is a great example of the economic progress that can be achieved when the public and private sectors roll up their sleeves and work shoulder-to-shoulder.”

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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 17, November 4, 2011
©2011 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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