By Maureen Werther
Teakwood Home Builders is about half way through its renovation and expansion of the 1940s-style box garage and former home of Mangione Locksmiths at 75 Church St. in Saratoga Springs.
When it is complete, the building will serve as headquarters and showroom for the company. But it will also be an homage to an industrial age style of architecture that has faded from the landscape in this part of the country, the company said.
Jim Sasko, owner and president of Teakwood Builders, said he conducted in-depth research into the history of the architectural style of the 1940s box-style garages. The typical design consisted of two overhead doors with a glass front that wrapped around one corner of the structure.
“Some of them even had gaudy-looking awnings over the gas pumps,” said Sasko, which kept the station attendant dry while pumping gas for customers.
He said other developers who looked at the property had wanted to tear the building down. But Sasko liked the feel of it and was sure it could be transformed into a property that would be a great showcase for Teakwood’s designs, services and products. For him, it was reminiscent of the kinds of buildings seen in old movies. He said it was a significant historical artifact, of which there are few left in this part of the country.
“Out west and in places like Seattle, there are a lot of this style of building,” said Sasko. In many midwestern and western cities, companies like Starbuck’s and other trendy eateries and retail stores have turned the otherwise ordinary structures into unique “industrial chic” locations.
Working with Brent Balzer, of the architectural firm of Balzer and Tuck, they came up with concepts to present to the city zoning and planning boards.
“It was a challenge and there were a pile of hurdles to get through,” said Sasko, “but I thought it was a building worth saving.”
The goal was to keep the original structure and expand it. If they had decided to take the building down, they would have had to build the new structure closer to the sidewalk.
Sasko hopes to be finished and moved in by the end of August. The original structure was approximately 1,500 square feet and they added an additional 1,600 square feet to it.
Currently, Teakwood Builders is located at 8 Butler Place, Saratoga Springs.
The showroom will allow customers to see the level of craftsmanship and quality products and hardware that Teakwood has become known for since it began in 1996, said Sasko.
In addition to building new homes, Teakwood does renovations, restorations and remodeling. Their work can be found throughout Saratoga County, as well as Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties. They do design-build, renovations and remodeling for businesses and residential customers and their work ranges from modern to contemporary to historic structures.