SCOTIA — A $1.5 million package of renovations was unveiled Wednesday at the Glen Sanders Mansion, one of the oldest and most adapted structures in the region if not the state.
The landmark event venue and boutique hotel now has a new two-story lobby, upgraded guest rooms and improved ballroom, along with greater indoor-outdoor connection to the Mohawk River just down the slope from the facility.
The property, owned and operated by Mazzone Hospitality for the last three decades, is light years ahead of — and many degrees of separation from — the trading post built at river’s edge in 1658. But elements of the original remain.
That structure was moved up the slope and out of floodwaters’ reach. The circa-1713 expansion project that became the Glen Sanders Mansion still exists, with the patina of age intact, as the heart of a much-enlarged complex.
Before the ribbon-cutting Wednesday, Capital Region Chamber President Mark Eagan told guests that the Glen Sanders Mansion is a great presence at the gateway to the village of Scotia. He credited company CEO Angelo Mazzone for being a longtime leader in the region’s hospitality industry, and an innovator who saw the potential in repurposing a mansion decades older than the nation itself.
“There’s very few people who can be just known by their first name,” Eagan said.
Mazzone said some people called the mansion project an unlikely proposition as he was starting out.
“I remember coming to Scotia, believe it or not, 30 years ago,” he said. “This is where it all started for our company. This is the facility that gave us our lift. We always call this the mother ship.”
The mansion is named after the Glen family, descendants of the area’s original European settler, and the Sanders family, which married into the Glen family. They owned it for more than 300 years, right up through 1961.
It was later converted into apartments, then an office for a software company.
In 1987, a transplanted Long Islander who’d opened Peggy’s and then Manhattan Exchange restaurants in Schenectady took his first look at the old mansion across the river in Scotia.
“This was just an old house sitting on the river, 2,000 square feet,” Mazzone recalled Wednesday.
He bought the mansion in November 1988 and it hosted its first event in March 1989.
“I just thought it was a natural site,” Mazzone said.
Many weddings and banquets later, the Inn at Glen Sanders Mansion was added as a new wing in 1995. It was this side of the complex that recently underwent $1.5 million in renovations.
Mazzone also added a ballroom, offices and a kitchen, and enclosed the patio event space.
He did not, remarkably enough, have to make any structural repairs to the original mansion — engineers told him the timbers were holding up fine. The beams, floors and doors are all from the original construction, he said.
The formal grand reopening of the Inn at Glen Sanders will be June 27, with 100 percent of proceeds of tickets benefiting the JDRF.
It’s one of the nonprofits Mazzone Hospitality helps each year, a favorite for Mazzone being Special Olympics. It has provided “some of the most moving experiences I’ve been involved with,” he said.