On October 23, 2023, the groundbreaking took place for Flanigan Square, a $65 million mixed-use development on River Street in Troy, Rensselaer County, New York.
The transformational project will help to address local challenges like housing and food insecurity in one of the Capital Region’s most economically distressed census tracts, and create a revitalized destination along the waterfront that will fuel regional growth and development.
First Columbia Founder and President Kevin Bette said, “I can’t think of a better thing you can do for a community than put in Bargain Grocery. The biggest amenity missing from this neighborhood, and the adjacent downtown area, is a complete grocery store. This will be a game changer.”
Bargain Grocery, which first opened in 2002 in Utica, plans to occupy the space and works to combat food waste and food insecurity. The store partners with national and local vendors to buy food that was overproduced, and receives donated products from companies, then sells this product at a low price. Profits generated by the store fund the non-profit Compassion Coalition to support people in need.
Bargain Grocery Founder Mike Servello said, “This part of Troy could be considered a ‘food desert’ so it really fits our mission. Residents of under-resourced neighborhoods don’t have access to the same healthy food, the same deals that others have. Larger grocers don’t typically go into areas like this, so we’re partnering with other community leaders to do something about this critical problem.”
The $65 million project is being supported by up to $6.7 million in ESD grants, including $3 million from the Capital Region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative fund.
The Flanigan Square project sits in the northern end of Troy’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative zone, which was awarded 2021. The compact Riverwalk DRI District contains a large portion of the city’s arts, cultural, and entertainment assets, including over one and a half miles of riverfront.
“With hundreds of units of housing, a brand-new, affordable grocery store, and improvements to the public realm in the City of Troy, Flanigan Square represents exactly the kinds of projects we need to breathe life into our downtowns,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.
“Through investments in developments like this one, my administration is helping to increase the housing supply, address longstanding issues like food insecurity, and creating vibrant, dynamic neighborhoods all over New York State that will help drive the regional economy forward,” she added.
As part of the $10 million award, 11 total projects were selected for funding, designed to enhance the area’s vibrant arts and culture scene, walkability and connectivity, housing opportunities and community services.
Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said, “The City of Troy recognizes the value of quality nutrition for all neighborhoods in allocating $400,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds— funds meant to help communities bounce back after COVID-19 — to the establishment of a grocery store in North Central. By offering produce and high-quality groceries at lower costs, we are improving our families’ nutritional and health outcomes, the performance of youth in our schools, and overall neighborhood quality of life. I thank First Columbia and Empire State Development for their partnership in tackling a local food desert by bringing this grocery store to Troy.”
Redeveloped by First Columbia, the project spans three buildings and will include more than 200 units of housing, including low-income and senior housing, an affordable grocery store, and more than 40,000 square feet of commercial space.
The Flanigan Square transformation includes three locations – 547, 549 and 558 River Street – in Downtown Troy. At 547 River Street, the project includes a 68,000 square-foot conversion of office space into 72 residential units – more than half of which will be designated low-income units.
Additional interior and exterior renovations will create more than 40,000 square feet of commercial space, with plans for an exterior glass-enclosed rock-climbing wall and gym. Additional site work includes walking paths, electric vehicle charging stations, and improved parking. Next door at 549 River Street, First Columbia is planning to build a senior housing facility with 123 units.
State Senator Jacob Ashby said, “These are the kind (sic) of targeted, public-private partnerships that help residents meet their basic needs and drive strong economic growth. Today, I met with officials from Bargain Grocery, and I believe they’re going to be a great civic partner. I’m also pleased that the state is investing in housing for middle-class families, seniors and those who are struggling to make ends meet. I think this project is a multi-faceted win for Troy, and I’m pleased to support it.”
Across the street at 558 River Street, First Columbia will renovate nearly 20,000 square feet of commercial space to include a first-floor grocery store and a second-floor meal preparation space.
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “Today’s groundbreaking at Flanigan Square is a true testament to the city’s longstanding commitment to building affordable housing. This mixed-use and senior housing development will provide families and seniors with the permanent affordable housing they need to attain stability and security. The addition of Bargain Grocery as a commercial tenant will fill a great need for grocery service in the City of Troy’s food desert and will help provide easy, equitable access to fresh and nutritious foods. I am thrilled to see this continued investment in the City of Troy.”
Bargain Grocery offers quality, healthy food at affordable costs to an area of food insecurity while also working to combat food waste and provides discreet financial assistance to those in need.
New York State Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “The City of Troy is a historic and vibrant community that is continuing to grow. By recognizing the significance of Troy’s riverfront, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative serves as a connector to many of the locally owned small businesses, arts, and cultural institutions. The buzz created by the Troy Downtown Revitalization Initiative is catalyzing additional and complementary investments such as Flanigan Square. Thanks to Governor Hochul’s commitment to the DRI, Troy is continuing to repurpose long-vacant buildings into bustling multi-purpose establishments. The inclusion of housing units–including for seniors– and convenient access to fresh, healthy, and affordable groceries allows residents to live, work and raise a family.”
Empire State Development (ESD) President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “We are pleased to support the transformational Flanigan Square project, which will not only help residents with increased access to affordable, healthy food, health and fitness services, and much needed local retail goods throughout the community, it will attract businesses and create jobs, boosting the economy in the process.”
ESD has also awarded the project up to $9 million in New Market Tax Credits, which are designed to spur community development in lower-income areas of the state. Additionally, the City of Troy is contributing $400,000 from its American Rescue Plan Act allocation. The project will create nine jobs, and is expected to generate more than 120 indirect jobs locally.
Image courtesy of First Columbia.