By Christine Graf
Twelve years ago, Susan Davis completed the design of a two-story mixed-use building at 65 Beekman St. in Saratoga Springs. Davis, a principal architect at SD Atelier Architecture LLC, was hired by the woman who owned the vacant 5,200-square-foot property at the time.
SD Atelier Architecture, in Saratoga Springs, is owned by Davis and her husband, fellow architect Don Davis. During their 25 years of working in Saratoga, they have designed numerous residential and commercial properties both locally and in the Adirondacks. Current projects include Elk Lake Lodge, a historic hunting and fishing lodge in North Hudson, and Schroon Lake Community Church, a historic church that was destroyed by fire in early 2019.
Davis designed 65 Beekman St. to include a first floor gallery space, a small first floor apartment, and a larger second floor apartment. But just as construction of the building was about to begin, her client learned she would incur significant costs to run sprinkler system lines to the property. It was at that same time that the 2008 stock market crash triggered a housing crash and economic downturn. As a result, the owner decided not to proceed.
“We put in about a year and a half worth of effort,” said Davis. “We went through all of the approvals with planning and zoning and design review and had a full set of construction drawings. We had obtained a building permit and she had a construction manager lined up. And then things went south with the economy.”
The owner held onto the property until May 2019, at which time she sold it to Rosetti Properties of Albany for $240,000. Rosetti is a company that SD Atelier Architecture has worked with in the past.
Matthew Falvey, grandson of Richard Rosetti and vice president of development of Rosetti Companies, decided to build on the property. After seeing the original designs, he chose her as his architect. Because the plans had been previously approved, Falvey knew the approval process for his project would not take long.
Construction of the approximately 4,000-square-foot building was recently completed and Falvey has secured a tenant—a vintage clothing store called Vintage—for the 1,000-square-foot commercial space on the first floor. Both apartments also have tenants.
“I fell in love with the architecture of the building. I have appreciation for Dutch architecture and I felt the double hung windows with all of the trim kind of spoke to me in that sense. The windows allow a lot of natural light to pour in,” said Falvey.
“He stuck with most of the original design intent,” said Davis. “There were some modifications, but it was essentially the same.”
The building was designed to blend into the streetscape of the Beekman Street Arts District. The street includes a mix of turn-of-the-century homes, art galleries, restaurants and shops.
“The corner is cut back specifically to allow for better visibility going around the corner to make it more pedestrian friendly,” said Davis. “There are also large windows on the first level which make it more suitable for a commercial space. The second floor has a balcony that is kind of carved out of the building so that it looks down on Beekman Street.”
It’s designed to have very high ceilings with a loft space type of feeling. It was in the original design to make it more of an industrial chic loft style building. However, the outside we couldn’t make look like a warehouse. It had to be blended in with the street … It’s about bringing back that character that was required by the Design Review Commission to blend into the streetscape of the Beekman Arts District.”
Falvey said he has received nothing but positive feedback on the building.
By Christine Graf