Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

Countdown of Top 5 Stories of 2023: Number 2

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The purchase and ongoing renovation of the former Bush’s hardware store received the highest number of online views and comments in 2023 and is the Number 2 story of the year. File photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Ravena News-Herald is counting down the top 5 local stories of 2023. We looked at the top stories of the year, those that drew the highest number of readers to our website and Facebook page, or that had the greatest impact on our community and its residents. Here is the Number 2 story for the year.

Former Bush’s store to be redeveloped by new owner

RAVENA — After standing vacant for about two decades, a local eyesore has been sold and will be redeveloped by a new owner.

Mayor Bill Misuraca announced at the Oct. 17 meeting of the village board that the deal on the long-vacant site officially closed and repairs to the roof have begun.

“The old Bush’s hardware store has officially sold and the closing occurred, and the new owners have equipment there,” Misuraca said. “They got their permits for the roof demolition and rebuild, which is their first step, so it’s nice to see that they’re progressing quickly.”

Bush’s hardware store, at 159 Main St. in the village, is across the street from the Ravena post office and has been vacant for many years. Village officials have been working to figure out what to do with the site, which was becoming progressively more dilapidated over time.

The building was purchased by Chris Gallagher of Gallagher & Company, a real estate firm specializing in commercial and industrial properties, with offices in Albany and Windham. Gallagher could not be reached for comment at press time.

Misuraca said the company purchased the former hardware store with the goal of rehabilitating it.

“The current owner, Gallagher, rehabs buildings for a living,” the mayor said. “He plans to make living space upstairs, a complete remodel and restoration of the entire building. The downstairs will be what he calls a ‘vanilla box,’ completely set up and ready for any number of offices or professional space to move into. He seems to have a very solid plan; he has done similar projects in Albany with great success.”

Another long-vacant and abandoned building on Main Street may also get a new owner and a facelift. That property, too, has posed a challenge for the village as it has stood damaged and vacant for many years.

“In another bit of good news, the other vacant apartments across from the firehouse on Main Street are in contract right now to sell to a new owner,” Misuraca said. “That owner knows where we’re at with the enforcement process and is ready to make very fast moves to improve those properties and get them up to code and habitable again, so these are two big moves happening and we are glad to see that.”

A third building on Main Street is also in the village’s sights — the building at 136 Main St., across the street from the veterans’ monument, which has also been vacant for many years. The structure was built in 1950, according to online property records, and over the years housed various restaurants and bars, including Sandy’s Tavern, Wingnuts, and The Lighthouse.

The building has stood vacant for a long time and is in poor condition. For years, there was an “Auction” sign posted in the window, but the building never sold and was slated for demolition by Albany County, but so far, no action has been taken.

“We have been negotiating with the county, who are the current owners, to get some progress on this one next,” Misuraca said. “They promised to tear it down several years ago, but that has not happened. Our lawyers are actively working on this.”

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