TROY — The $16 million project to turn the former Marshall Ray building at 701 River St. into apartments and commercial space was 80 percent complete when a devastating fire struck on an early Friday evening last July, causing an estimated $10 million in damage.
While insurance has covered much of the damage, kitchen cabinets, sheetrock, hardwood flooring, plumbing materials and other items have had to be replaced. The project, which received $3.68 million in tax breaks from the Troy Industrial Development Agency, is seeking another $800,000 sales tax exemption as it replaces materials lost in the fire.
On Friday, the Troy IDA accepted an application from Redburn Development seeking the exemption as well as a request for $250,000 to help with project expenses, said Steve Strichman, the city’s commissioner of planning and economic development. The funding would help with cash flow while the developers await payment of additional insurance money.
A public hearing on the requests will be held at 10 a.m. July 17.
“It’s a substantial claim and we’ve received millions of dollars,” Tom Rossi, a principal with Redburn, told the agency. “We hope to receive more.”
Rossi also said that plans for a restaurant or other commercial tenant in the six-story riverfront building were on hold.
“Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the works,” he said. “Until the building is done, I don’t think there’s a lot of people on the commercial side” willing to commit.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty for residential and commercial real estate projects throughout the country. Nevertheless, the market demand for residential space, particularly smaller studios and one-bedroom apartments, remains healthy in downtown Troy, officials said, although vacancy rates have risen to 7 percent from 5 percent previously.
“We continue to have a really really strong rental market in the downtown area,” said Dylan Turek, Troy’s economic development director.