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What you need to know for 10/18/2017

Schenectady's 'Coca-Cola' building demolished

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Schenectady's 'Coca-Cola' building demolished

Remember when a bottle of Coca-Cola was only five cents?
Schenectady's 'Coca-Cola' building demolished
Broadway building with Coca-Cola advertising on wall.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Remember when a bottle of Coca-Cola was only five cents?

Drive down Broadway in Schenectady and the old sign on a building at 412 Broadway brought you back to the good ol’ days.

“Delicious and Refreshing”

“Drink Coca-Cola. Relieves Fatigue.”

“Sold Everywhere 5¢”

That’s what the ghost sign read on the side of the building. That building is now gone.

The early 1900s building was recently demolished after Highbridge Development of Schenectady purchased it from Frank Stewart in April for $20,000. It’s unclear what the future plans are for the property.

John Roth, CEO of Highbridge and Plank Construction, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, said he is unaware of Roth’s plans for the property.

Although the building was not designated as historic, Schenectady Heritage Foundation Chairwoman Gloria Kishton said the building’s sign was a staple and its demolition is a loss for the city.

“It was one of those iconic Schenectady signs and people were very fond of it,” she said. “I think that is the thing that people will remember about it the most.”

Highbridge is responsible for much of the development along Broadway over the past decade.

Kishton said many of the former buildings on Broadway were torn down by Highbridge, and she labeled Roth as someone who is “absolutely not a preservationist.”

“The unfortunate thing is that most of the buildings that were its neighbors on Broadway have been demolished already, so in a way it looked sort of strange,” Kishton said. “The decision was made a long time ago to go in that direction.”

Projects by Highbridge include a 48,000-square-foot office building on a 1.2-acre vacant lot just north of its headquarters at 376 Broadway; a 3,500-square-foot office building at 330 Broadway; a 4,500-square-foot office building at 336 Broadway; a 4,000-square-foot training and office facility at 340 Broadway; and a 6,000-square-foot office building at 388 Broadway.

Highbridge is also behind a $20 million project in partnership with Prime Companies of Cohoes to knock down several lower State Street buildings to make way for upscale apartments and retail.

The three buildings slated for demolition include the Olender Mattress building at 254 State St., a red brick building at 236 State once occupied by Absolute Pest Control and the BiMor Army Navy building at 232 State St.

After demolition, the Nicholaus Building at the corner of State Street and Erie Boulevard will stand alone until construction starts sometime this fall.The project is expected to take about 14 months to complete.

“While they are demoing Olender we are concerned about the effect on the Nicholaus Building,” Kishton said. “That truly is a building that should be on a national historic register.”

The building at 412 Broadway used to house the Stewart Electrical Repair Company. It wasn’t the only building in the area with an old ghost sign.

Ghost signs, which could be seen on several buildings in Albany and Schenectady, were created between the 1890s and mid-1900s by sign painters known as “wall dogs.”

In Schenectady at State and Martin streets, a hard-to-read ghost sign advertises accordions, while the words Gazette Press Bldg. stretch down the side of the current home of the Edison Tech Center on Broadway.

Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, hviccaro@dailygazette.net or @HRViccaro on Twitter.

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