Downtown Troy, NY- one of American’s most beautiful Downtowns

Troy has a long history going back to the late 18th century when it was formally incorporated. Due to its access to the Erie Canal it quickly became a prosperous city. In 1824 the nation’s oldest private engineering institute opened here, the Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute. The industrial revolution continued to spur industrial and economic growth to the City helping Troy become the fourth wealthiest city in America around the turn of the 20th century. This wealth translated into amazing architecture, especially in Downtown  including many elaborate Victorian and Italianate rowhouses and brownstones along with several great churches containing Tiffany stained glass windows, Troy Music Hall,  Troy Public Library, and much more.

Like most industrial cities, Troy witnessed significant blight and disinvestment. Yet, unlike Albany, most of its historic building stock remains in tact. With new interest and reinvestment this become a great asset for Troy creating one of the most beautiful American Downtowns with great urban form and a truly live/work district. Many restaurants, bars, locally owned retail have opened the past couple decades. While not a major employment hub, Dwtn troy excels as a business incubator as it can provide cheap spaces in an attractive urban districts.

Areas that Dwtn can improve include removal of remaining blighted areas, new condos (for-sale housing is only rowhouses), walkable downtown schools, more bike lanes within the Downtown District, and a full service grocery store. 
Click here to view my Downtown Troy album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

*Great density for a Dwtn especially a mid-sized city. Much larger residential population in Dwtn Troy than Dwtn Albany.
* Wonderful historic architecture. Arguably the best preserved historic downtown in the United States.
* Good street tree coverage especially for a Downtown area.
* Overall a very comfortable pedestrian environment where most curb cuts have up to date ADA infrastructure.
* High quality transit service Dwtn and extending to all of Troy and connecting to Albany. In fact the entire Capitol Region transit system is quite good.
* The bike share system in place in Albany, Troy, Schenectady provides great coverage to all these cities. Several regional bike trails come close but don’t quite connect with Dwtn. Still easy to bike the last 1/2-1 mile without a fully dedicated bike lane.
* Wonderful street grid and connectivity. * Good racial diversity.
* Most for-sale housing options are larger rowhomes. One can purchase a 2-4 bedroom in the 100Ks & 200Ks. Plenty of options in the 300Ks-600Ks depending on size and value. This is great if you want to live Dwtn with a family. Condos are certainly a missing market here.
* Decent array of rental options too. Pretty in-expensive for a dwtn. 1-bedrooms lease btwn $800-$1,400, 2-bedrooms in the $1,000s and low 2Ks, 3-bedrooms in the $2,000s.
* Parks spaces consist of Chamberlin Waterfront Park, sage park, and Monument Square- the modest civic heart of Dwtn in the middle of an ambitious re-design. The extensive Prospect Park is located just SE of Dwtn.
* Good college population within or near Dwtn with Sage College and Renesselaer  Polytechnic Institute (8,500 students).
* Excellent urban form and massing. Surface parking lots are pretty limited in Dwtn Troy.
* Dwtn has an active BID charged with clean up, beautification, and special events.
* Culturally dwtn excells at in the food & beverage industry, several art galleries, several historic theaters, and great cultural amenities from its colleges.
* Retail amenities include a wonderful array of local, creative stores, bookstores,  boutiques, a hardware store, drug store, dwtn post office & library, a small organic grocer, and nearby hospital.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:


* No convention center or sport facilities downtown
* IF you include the universities total employment dwtn is only about 10K. But there are positives in the office market. Troy has lots of small start up companies and trend is very positive. They are attracted by Downtown’s cheap rents (around $12-$15 a square foot). There is also limited vacancy too.
* Portion of Dowtn north of Federal Street and east of 5th Ave is still pretty blighted. But reinvestment seems to be arriving quickly.
* Limited post WW II in-fill but some nice medium sized mixed-income buildings starting to pop up, a sign of Dwtn’s success. Bland mid century infill located north of Federal St. due to some haphazard urban renewal efforts. Lucky this was limited.
* No direct public transit connection between Dwtn and the airport. One needs to pass transfer at Dwtn Albany.
* Incomes generally pretty low in dwtn Troy (30% poverty rate) but this seems to be improving as more young professionals move here. 
* Family households account for 30% of the pop, while this is low note bad for a dwtn area. Also plenty of 3 bedroom + options with all of Dwtn’s rowhouses.
* Crime rate in Troy overall is pretty high. But dwtn generally feels safer other than a few sketchy and blighted spots.
* Without any modern skyscrapers, no traditional American skyline here. Kind of nice though as the historic bldgs and churches still form the skyline.
* No schools located within Dwtn but a couple good options a mile away.
* Given its historic blight and safety concerns, Dwtn Troy still struggles with aa unjustified negative perception.
* Streetscape is generally attractive but uneven in terms of investment.
* No full-service supermarket and large retailer dwtn. 

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