About eight years ago, the Stone Mill was just four stories of big, open floors — aside from the first floor’s antique shop — a relic of the city’s manufacturing history gone by.
More than 150 windows and an exhausted retirement fund later, 410 Canal Place owners David Taylor and Richard Vogt have breathed life into the building, most notably redesigning the floors into vendor space, the Black Box Theater and the Inn at Stone Mill.
But now, they’re ready to pass the torch.
“We’ve done it. We’re tired,” Vogt said, speaking of their pending move to Brattleboro, Vt. “So, we’re just ready to pack it up and make a big change.”
With the multiuse building as well for sale along with the Little Falls Antique Center at 25 West Mill St. — owned by Little Falls resident Linda Vincent —what will become of the renovated buildings?
The asking prices: $1.7 million for 410 Canal Place and $599,000 for 25 West Mill St., according to Weichert Real Estate listings.
Vincent said she’s looking for a buyer who will expand on what’s already been done.
“They’re certainly starting off in a different place than we did,” she said, adding she bought the building in 1984 and rehabilitated the place into a multiuse building — antique vendors and apartments. “We want to continue to grow and develop the Canal Place area with mixed use and continue to focus on the canal.”
In 2008, Canal Place was recognized by the Erie Canal Heritage Corridor for its outstanding example of driven economy and community revitalization.
The Mustard Seed owner Juli Webster said Canal Place sees about 18,000 people throughout the year.
Ed McMahon, a senior resident fellow for Washington, D.C.-based Urban Land Institute, said mixed-use buildings are one of the best investment opportunities.
“Mixed-use development, where you have a variety of uses — retail, office, residential — in close proximity is really sort of where the developmental paradigm is going,” McMahon said.
Plus, he said, the building has been readapted for use and that makes it unique.
“The more a town does to preserve its unique identity … the more people would want to go there,” he said.
Little Falls Mayor Robert Peters said he doesn’t see an issue with the buildings going up for sale.
“It’s already established,” he said. “The people who have bought those buildings have put a lot into it.”
Vogt and Taylor said they aren’t worried about the fate of the Stone Mill because of the success the area has had.
Page 2 of 2 - “Somebody is going to want to take over something with a lot of foot traffic,” Taylor said.
Vogt and Taylor said they’ve had a lot of interest in the building and they’re screening each carefully.
“We’re thinking about the community here,” Taylor said. “We can’t leave a hole in the community.”
Across the street at the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts, Executive Director Kevin Mihaly said it’s “bittersweet” that the buildings are for sale.
“That child is leaving the nest,” he said referring to Vincent, Vogt and Taylor’s pending departure from the Canal Place business world. “Like with any business, things will change. Sometimes, we have to embrace change.”
For the owner of The Mustard Seed — which has been in the Stone Mill since it opened in 2005 — the building and its owners have provided her an opportunity to play and grow.
“There’s room to evolve and do what you want to do,” Webster said. “When the Inn (at Stone Mill) opened, we expanded.”
Webster also has been able to host and expand events such as Chicks Along the Canal and the Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival, which runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
“I think stuff’s happening down here,” said Chris Connolly, owner of Ole Sal’s ice cream. “Somebody could walk in and they wouldn’t have to lift a dust mop.”