All along West Avenue, new retail spaces and residential units rise from a once rustic landscape, providing new places to eat and places to live, centers to learn, work out, and earn.
“It definitely has changed. Years ago, people would have said that was on the outskirts, but as the city has grown West Avenue also has grown as a nice corridor,” said Gerard Wise, of Roohan Realty. “I’ve had brokerage deals from corner-to-corner along the whole corridor and there’s been a lot of interest for sure.”
Wise grew up in Saratoga Springs where his family owned property at the northern end of West Avenue which was sold to Bonacio Construction who subsequently developed the 2 West Ave Apartment Community.
“I’ve been working from a professional real estate standpoint on West Avenue since 2004 and it’s definitely become a place that has grown in interest. There has been slow and steady growth in that corridor,” said Wise, whose sign stands outside 120 West Ave., showcasing office space. A few years ago, he sold land next to the Washington Street post office to the Vecino Group, where an affordable housing complex has been developed.
It is a heavily trafficked road, so a lot of the existing businesses have been based on vehicle traffic. “You obviously have the Stewart’s, Walgreens, the gas stations - but what has started to change over the past two years is the residential growth. That was always lacking before because it was kind of a traffic corridor, but now with more residences, I believe you’re going to start to see more foot traffic which will probably fill in the gaps with more retail,” he said, noting the residential 2 West Ave. apartments, the more than 100 affordable units developed by the Vecino Group as Intrada, and a new condominium project at 116 West Ave. where a banner showcasing the Scott Varley real estate team drapes across the balcony of the four-story building. For more information about Gerard Wise and 120 West Ave. properties, go to: https://www.roohanrealty.com/agent/gerard-wise/.
“It’s funny because I grew up at 120 West Ave. which is the building next-door to the condos, and where I lived the first 20 years of my life,” said Real Estate Associate Broker Scott Varley.
“Growing up on West Avenue, it was largely residential. There were some commercial uses - at the corner of West and Grand they used to sell tombstones off the front lawn when I was a kid. On the other corner, which is now a doctor’s office, was a bar called Fonzie’s. If someone told me when I was 18 years old that when I was in my 50’s I would be working next door I wouldn’t have believed it,” he said with a laugh, “yet here I am.”
The 34 two-bedroom condominium units start in the $400,000s. “I have a number of them sold already, and it is the first condo on West Avenue. The building is pretty spectacular, and it has the only rooftop pool between New York City and Montreal in a condo,” Varley said.
“I think West Avenue is the next Railroad Place because it’s more affordable property than downtown Saratoga Springs and it’s only 0.9 miles to Starbucks coffee shop. I know other people who are contemplating condo construction on West Avenue and being the first ones to jump into that arena, I think it’ll now be more safe for others to follow once this is sold out,” Varley said.
“In the future I see it following in the footsteps of some of the downtown stuff. You’ll see more condos, more businesses, you’ll see things getting filled in and it will look a lot different in 10 years than it does today. The trajectory looks pretty accelerated.” For more information about the condominium units at The West, go to: https://thewestsaratoga.com/
When the city of Saratoga Springs updated its Comprehensive Plan a handful of years ago, West Avenue was one of the sections identified as a growth area. Over the past two decades, West Avenue has seen the $6 million renovation of the Saratoga Springs Train Station, the opening of the YMCA of Saratoga’s $10 million, 75,000-square-foot community and fitness center 1/4 mile south of the Saratoga Springs Junior-Senior High School, and the construction of the Empire State College International Programs building and Center for Distance Learning facility. The longtime Broadway based business Schrade’s Posie Peddler shop relocated to West Avenue in 2011, and Pitney Meadows Farm - a property used for agriculture since the 1860s – was recently preserved in perpetuity for farming and education, with the founding of the Pitney Meadows Community Farm in 2016.
The Vecino Group’s Intrada - an affordable and supportive apartment community, began first housing residents in November 2019. The four buildings house 158 one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Cost is based on 50%, 60%, and 80% Area Median Income, or AMI.
“We are a multi-family apartment complex so we have some retired folks, we have families, some single people, single parents, so we cover it all,” said complex leasing agent Kristine Callahan. The affordable housing program is through the New York State Homes and Community Renewal program.
“We started moving folks in, in November 2019 and we do still have availability. We are getting to a point now where we only have a handful of one-bedroom available, but we still do have two-bedroom and three-bedroom availability,” she added. For more information about Saratoga Springs Intrada, go to: https://saratogasprings.weareintrada.com/.