Saratoga County

Old Saratoga ice cream factory remains

The former Ellsworth Ice Cream Co. still stands at 120 Division St., nearly five months after plans

The former Ellsworth Ice Cream Co. still stands at 120 Division St., nearly five months after plans to demolish the plant and replace it with a mixed-use project of townhouses, apartments and retail stores were approved.

“Everything is back in their hands,” said Kate Maynard, the city’s principal planner.

The city Planning Board approved site plans for developer S. Alexander Stephens III in February. He owns SAS Builders.

Maynard said before the city can issue a building permit, the developer has to provide a letter of credit and pay the $1,500 per residential unit recreation fee to the city.

The ice cream plant, a city landmark for 50 years, closed in 2007. Gerald Ellsworth of Greenfield, company president, died in early 2008.

“It’s moving in a positive, productive direction,” Stephens said Tuesday.

He said he preferred not to discuss the project at this time, adding details about when the project will be started will be made public in the “next couple of months.”

The project, as presented last November, includes demolition of the 60,000-square-foot plant and replacing it with 66 luxury townhouse units along Division Street.

A three-story building would be built at the corner of Division and Walworth streets and would feature 9,500 square feet of retail and office space on the first floor and 28 apartment units on the second and third floors.

Michael Phinney of the Phinney Design Group designed the mixed-use project. He said last fall the apartments would be affordable and range in size from a 800-square-foot studio to a 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment. The townhouses would have a “historic feel” in keeping with Saratoga Springs, he said.

“It’s a leading-edge, signature project,” said Michael Ingersoll of the LA Group of Saratoga Springs.

Ingersoll presented the site plans at the Nov. 10, 2010 meeting of the city Planning Board.

He said the townhouses would be brownstone-style “row houses” with private garages in the back. He described the project as a transition from the city’s downtown to the West Side.

The townhouse owners would be part of a homeowners association that would provide maintenance and groundskeeping services to the complex.

The project includes sidewalks along Division Street where none currently exist.

During the review process, the Planning Board members focused on traffic plans, including parking plans, as well as sidewalks and pathways that would provide safe passage for walkers and people riding bikes from the 2.5-acre site to the city’s downtown, just three blocks away.

The plans include 172 parking spaces that would accommodate the retail and residential parts of the project.

In October 2008, a public auction was held at the plant and potential buyers from throughout the country bid on the ice cream manufacturing equipment in the building.

The Ellsworth Ice Cream plant was once one of the largest makers in the Northeast of private label ice cream and specialty frozen products.

Three generations of the Ellsworth family expanded the business. The company opened a warehouse near the railroad tracks off Perry Road in Wilton for the storage of frozen products in the late 1990s.

The company also purchased an ice cream plant in North Springfield, Vt., from Ben and Jerry’s ice cream company some years ago. That plant was auctioned off in 2007, according to an Oct. 9, 2008 story in the Daily Gazette.

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