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RensCo Chamber First Tenant At Proctor's Troy

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

A Troy landmark has a new lease on life and a new tenant.

Proctor's was built in the early 20th century for vaudeville performances by Capital District entrepreneur Frederick F. Proctor, who built another theater with his name in nearby Schenectady. The theater flourished for decades, but closed in 1977. The city of Troy acquired the property through foreclosure a year later.

In the early 2000s, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute acquired the building, hoping to use it partially for office space while keeping the theater.

In 2011, it was announced that, in a $14.4 million public-private project including a $3.3 million Restore New York grant, Columbia Development Companies would acquire Proctor’s and launch a restoration.  That redevelopment project is now on the fast-track. The Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce will be the first tenant at Proctor's, moving in in September.

Chamber Board Chair Daniel Slote celebrated the move on Thursday: "This location was selected because it best meets our needs and the needs of our members. And just as important, we believe this choice affirms our commitment to the revitalization of downtown troy."

Lt. Governor Robert Duffy called the project "beautiful." He said "This really epitomizes what Restore New York is all about. Taking buildings in these great cities upstate and bringing them back."

The Restore New York Communities Initiative provides municipalities with financial assistance for revitalization of commercial and residential properties.  Proctor's is getting about $1.7 million from a $3.3 million Restore NY grant.

Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia hails the Proctor's rehab as " a great boost for the city."   "The chamber could possibly have left the city entirely. Not only not leaving the city, but now coming over to 4th Street, an area that needs revitalization. And by them coming here, they're gonna draw all their people and other companies into this area, and as a result, the businesses will do better, our restaurants and the stores, and once again we'll have that bustling 4th street."

The chamber has signed a 10-year lease. It will occupy space on the building's first floor as well as the entire second floor.

The theater opened in 1914, and was one of the largest theaters in the Empire State at the time. In 1979 the theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  Proctor's marks its centennial on Nov. 23.


Audio of Chamber President Linda Hillman connecting the dots between the Proctor's Building and an historic moment in pop music.


Credit © by Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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