19th Century Fitzgerald Facility to Become “Class A” Life Storage Facility
The historic Fitzgerald Bros. bottling plant in Troy will be rehabilitated this fall to become a high security, climate controlled, multi-story “Class A” self-storage facility.
The renovations will span three adjacent buildings at 494, 498 and 500 River Street which are owned by regional developer First Columbia and Hampstead America, LLC, the same team that recently completed the highly acclaimed Troy Waterfront Marriott Courtyard across the street. The facility will total over 100,000 square feet and accommodate as many as 1,000 storage units of varying sizes suited to accommodate businesses and the growing residential market in Downtown Troy.
“Modern, safe, secure self-storage is an important component of a revitalized neighborhood,” said Nathaniel Bette, First Columbia project manager. “This site provides an exceptional, easy access, high visibility location for Life Storage to enter the Capital Region storage market .”
Bette said individual units will range in size from small lockers of a few square feet up to multi-bay warehouse units of 5,000 square feet, commercial tenants are invited to inquire about larger custom spaces and services.
The business will be managed by Buffalo-based Life Storage, which operates more than 850 self-storage facilities and is one of the largest self-storage companies in the United States, the fourth biggest self-storage REIT and fifth biggest storage company. Troy will be the company’s first location in the Capital Region.
“Having been part of the redevelopment of Buffalo and its waterfront, we appreciate what’s happening in Troy,” said Eric Carlson, sales manager for Life Storage. “We feel really good about this opportunity and First Columbia’s plans for this part of town.”
Last year, First Columbia brought in Life Storage to quietly take over management of the space which had been previously operated as a storage facility run by a small local family business. But the coming transformation to Class A will be dramatic, Carlson noted.
When the rehab work is complete, the climate-controlled complex will feature state of the art technology including key pad activated locks, a CCTV security camera system, and energy efficient systems.
Carlson said most storage customers will be looking to store personal items, such as people who are downsizing from a house to an apartment. But commercial customers may include small businesses needing space to store equipment. Those interested in renting space can call Life Storage at (518) 312-4478.
Both Bette and Carlson note that the building’s location, which is easily accessed from Route 7, and its loading dock in the rear make this facility especially appealing.
“Self-storage demand is high due to the influx of new businesses and residents to Downtown Troy,” said Bette. “This facility will be the only self-storage in Downtown and it will allow us to relocate 15,000 square feet of storage from our office buildings and add more jobs.”
REMEMBERING FITZGERALD BEER
The Fitzgerald Brewery established in 1852 was located on the west side of River Street, where the Marriott Hotel is now. Located across the street from the brew house, the bottling plant functioned until the 1960s.
Fitzgerald beers were distributed far and wide, and many locals remember the brand fondly.
“My father was one of the last people to work in the bottling building,” said Troy resident Tom Flynn. “He was on the maintenance crew that stayed on to take apart the machines after the brewery burned down in 1963.”
Flynn describes his father and the men who worked in the plant as “big strong guys who could throw kegs around like nothing.”
“My father worked there from four till midnight, so my sister and I would get on the bus around six o’clock to visit him at work,” Flynn said. “I remember there was a doorbell there. You’d press that doorbell and you could hear that doorbell five blocks away because it was so noisy inside it had to be that loud. Eventually someone would come open the door and let us in.”
There was also a resident cat in the bottling plant.
“The cat’s name was Mauser, which is German for ‘mouse-catcher.’ He was a nice cat, but there were no mice around there,” Flynn said. “It’s funny the stuff you remember.”
Some of the old Fitzgerald memorabilia survived in the building and is currently in storage.
“We’ll try to find a good place to display it,” Bette said of the historic items.
In the meantime, The Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway Industrial Gateway Burden Ironworks Museum in South Troy has many Fitzgerald-related items in its exhibit of Troy, N.Y. related brewing memorabilia. The collection includes a wide assortment of historic bottles and barrels and promotional items from historic breweries like Fitzgerald, Stanton, Quandt, and Stoll continuing to present day, with Brown’s Brewing Company.
Today Fitzgerald Brothers Beverages, Inc. continues to operate as a beverage distributor in Glens Falls, N.Y. For information, visit: https://www.fitzgeraldbros.com/about-us/history/