ROOMS WITH A VIEW IN COHOES

Waters View and lofts on Ontario Street will bring new life into the Spindle City

CHRIS CHURCHILL BUSINESS WRITER
Section: Business,  Page: D1

Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2011

COHOES -- Two projects are bringing more than 260 apartments to the Cohoes waterfront -- and promising to boost the Spindle City's recent population growth.


Both are under way along Delaware Avenue, a quiet and straight-as-an-arrow roadway that clings to the Van Schaick Island shoreline and leads to the scenic drama of Peebles Island State Park.


Waters View, as the larger of the two developments is called, is a long-planned complex that has taken more twists and turns than a Six Flags roller coaster. But developers broke ground on the $30 million, 222-unit complex last week and are expecting to have initial tenants moving in by the fall.


The second project is the ongoing conversion of an industrial building at 31 Ontario St. into 40 lofts. The $2 million plan is like a small version of The Lofts at Harmony Mills -- the North Mohawk Street development credited with helping to turn around decades of population decline in Cohoes.


Indeed, the census says the city's population grew by 4.17 percent from 2000 to 2010 and stands at 16,168.


Edward Tremblay, director of community and economic development, said city officials once expected the 2010 census to show an even faster rate of growth. In 2007, after all, Cohoes was anticipating the imminent construction of as many as 600 condominium units.


Then, the economy collapsed and ... cue the crickets. Most condo construction, in Cohoes and elsewhere, was put on hold as construction financing evaporated.


Waters View, where some units will look out over Peebles Island and a branch of the Mohawk, was among the stalled projects -- nothing new at a site where development has been planned for decades without success.


But Prime Cos., headquartered in Latham, was able to bring the project back as apartments, rather than condos. Company principle Dean DeVito said the firm never lost confidence in the strength of the site.


"You're overlooking a state park," DeVito said. "It's like you're out in the country, but you're minutes from everything."


At Waters View, rents for the one-, two- and three-bedroom units will range from $1,175 to $1,800 -- monthly sums that, until recently, were unimaginable for an apartment in Cohoes.


At 31 Ontario, rents will fall between $800 to $1,500, said project designer Anthony D'Adamo, who owns Capital Architecture in Cohoes and was hired by the downstate investment group that owns the building.


The loft conversion should end in the fall, while Waters View construction is expected to conclude late in 2012.


Together, the projects promise to further change the character of a Van Schaick waterfront that has already seen the arrival of the Riverwalk apartment complex, built in the late 1990s, or the Admiral's Walk condos, where construction continues.


Tremblay said city officials expect more change -- and are hoping for commercial development that will please the growing group of immigrants.


Wouldn't all the island's new residents, he asks, appreciate a few waterside restaurants?


Reach Churchill at 454-5442 or at cchurchill@timesunion.com.