The City of Cohoes, Prime Companies, and the Rensselaer School of Architecture have come together to announce a unique partnership to develop a key area of the Cohoes waterfront for public access.
A press conference was held October 23 in the Cohoes Music Hall. The conference included remarks from project leaders and Rensselaer students.
The city of Cohoes is nicknamed the “Spindle City” because of the importance of textile manufacturing to its growth in the 19th century. Situated at the Hudson-Mohawk confluence, the city has three waterfronts that currently are not accessible to the public. The city is also home to the Cohoes Falls, the second-largest falls in the state (after Niagara Falls). Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse is eager to leverage the city’s significant natural assets.
“I am excited to be part of a partnership that brings together one of the world’s most significant educational institutions and one of the Capital Region’s leading developers, as we embark on the redevelopment of the city’s waterfront. The waterfront is vital to the city’s success, and making sure we get it right is paramount,” stated Mayor Shawn Morse.
Prime Companies has been a pioneer in the Capital Region in all aspects of real estate and hospitality management and development over the past 35 years.
“We are excited for the opportunity to work with the city of Cohoes and the students of RPI to come up with ideas and concepts that could ultimately be included in a waterfront development project,” said Todd Curley, vice president of Prime Companies.
The School of Architecture at Rensselaer has been ranked the 13th best undergraduate program in the nation by the architectural research organization DesignIntelligence.
“Given the School of Architecture’s and the Institute’s commitment to educate our students here at Rensselaer to utilize their imagination and disciplinary knowledge to change the world, it’s an exciting opportunity to contribute to the future revitalization of the city of Cohoes,” said School of Architecture Dean Evan Douglis.
The partnership will be conducted in two distinct design phases. Phase I will be take place this fall and will address the design and access, or “gateway,” to the waterfront along with waterfront amenities. Work completed by the students will be part of a public exhibition in December at the Cohoes Music Hall, the fourth oldest Music Hall in the United States. Phase II will take place in spring 2018 and will explore housing alternatives for the 55-plus community and mixed-use development. As part of this initiative, the School of Architecture will produce a catalog of student work, to be published and distributed nationally and internationally.
According to organizers, the project has the following objectives: To reconnect the city of Cohoes to the waterfront; to re-envision Cohoes’ recreational and ecological waterfront for the 21st century; to re-vitalize the city through its social, educational, and cultural linkages to the community, and the region beyond; and to re-imagine a housing and lifestyle initiative to make Cohoes an “age-friendly city.”
Within the Rensselaer School of Architecture, this project is a key element in the school’s Capital Region Initiative that provides students with invaluable real-world experience to participate in the design of the built environment and to apply what they learn in the classroom to solve problems for the 21st century.