Thursday, 11 April 2024 14:28

Collaborative Effort To Preserve City’s Historic Character at 1869 Henry Lawrence House

Image of 182 Excelsior Ave., as submitted to Saratoga å Planning Board February 2024. Image of 182 Excelsior Ave., as submitted to Saratoga å Planning Board February 2024.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A collaborative effort between the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and the recent purchaser of an Excelsior Avenue property is being hailed as a success in preserving the city’s landscaped heritage. 

Located at 182 Excelsior Ave., the property was sold by Louisiana Management, LLC - which acquired the 2.5-acre parcel in 2004, to Excelsior Ave Property Owner LLC for $1.35 million on March 20, according to Saratoga County Land Records. 

The LLC that acquired the property is associated with brothers Brian and Gregory Green, whose initial plans called for wholesale demolition of the historic buildings on the site. 

Upon learning about the plans for demolition and subsequent research of the property, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation reported it learned of the significance of the 1869 Henry Lawrence House beyond its Gothic Revival architecture. After sharing this information with the new owners, they began to re-evaluate development plans to see if it was possible to retain the structures as part of their plan to construct apartments, according to the Foundation. 

“Many developers would have held forth on their original plans or walked away from the project - Brian did not.  He was willing to work on a creative solution that allowed for the development of apartments and the preservation of the buildings,” Samantha Bosshart, Executive Director of the Foundation said, in a statement. 

Henry Haydock Lawrence acquired the Valley of Ten Springs, land that extended from what today is Loughberry Lake to Lake Avenue, in 1829. By 1858, Lawrence’s son, also named Henry, retubed and bottled the waters from Excelsior Spring and was selling them worldwide. In 1869, he built the distinctive Gothic Revival residence at the corner of Excelsior Avenue and Excelsior 

Through a series of meetings, a tentative agreement was made to would allow for key elements to be preserved. It required a reduction in the number of apartments built, significant changes to the site plan, and the subdivision of the property to allow the historic buildings to be made into six condos to make the project financially feasible, to ultimately move the project forward. 

“We at Green Springs Capital are tremendously excited to begin construction on the new 182 Excelsior Avenue,” Brian Green said in a statement. 

“It has been quite a journey the past two years as our team has worked diligently to carefully design a development that will provide homes with exceptional quality while ensuring we honor Saratoga’s storied history. The process was not without its challenges, but in the end, we believe the project will be a huge success,” Green said. “The Lawrence House will be fully restored with six new condominiums and the newly constructed apartments will be home for 36 families. We are very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to making this vision a reality.”

The Foundation added that it believes the final agreement and Planning Board approval will result in the long-term preservation of the 1869 Henry Lawrence House and its carriage house for generations to come. 

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