For the third time Adirondack Trust has made a major addition to the cityscape of downtown Saratoga.
This time the Mabee Building just a hundred yards up Church Street across from The Adirondack Trust Company reflects the dynamic growth and prosperity of Saratoga Springs.
But that was not the case with the first two Adirondack Trust additions to the Saratoga cityscape. Today we see a vital and bustling downtown, a new hotel being erected on Lake Avenue, condos costing over a million dollars.
Four decades ago the picture was much grimmer.
Saratoga had an August economy, store fronts were empty along Broadway, the Gideon Putnam Hotel was closed during the winter.
During the 60's Adirondack Trust under the leadership of Newman E Wait and Newman (Pete) E Wait, Jr (grandfather and father of present bank president, Charles Wait)made the first major addition to the bank as a commitment to provide financial services to downtown Saratoga..
Recognizing the age of the automobile and that drive-ins were now a necessity for banks they replaced the building to the south of their Broadway Office with drive-ins and over them a building for book-keeping and support services.
With the new building for support services the Waits were able to
maintain the integrity of the Tiffany chandelier lobby. Many banks at this time had converted such spaces into two levels.
Newman E (Pete) Wait announced the next major change at a press conference in the fall of 1973. With a full house in the Lobby of the Bank Pete said the Bank was not moving but would renovate the four buildings adjacent to the bank to the west along Church Street for use by the bank for mortgage and other services.
Welcome news for downtown and it co-incided with the formation of the Downtown Business Association whose facade program would help
create the vital downtown cityscape of Saratoga today.
When Pete made that announcement of commitment to the future of Saratoga Adirondack Trust had assets of about $59 million with 40 employees.
The renovation of the buildings was completed in a year and you can still see the sweeping bow windows descending Church Street.
The decision to stay by Adirondack Trust was one of the key turning points in the resurgence of the Saratoga Springs we know today.
It has also proved a wise decision by the Bank. Today Adirondack Trust has assets over $700 million. Funds managed by the Trust Department would bring the total to over a billion. And number of employees is over 200.
With the growth and the increase in offices - now extending north to Glens Falls and south to Ballston - support and new services such as insurance - had the Bank filling the two buildings south of the drive-thru and book-keeping building on Broadway.
Charles V Wait, president of Adirondack Trust decided that like his father and grandfather downtown Saratoga Springs was a linchpin for the financial services that the Bank provides and that the Bank would meet the need for new space by building across from its present location.
You will have an opportunity to visit the new Mabee building in late May or early June.
When the Adirondack Trust opened its doors on January 2, 1902 a Mabee was there. Today a Mabee still serves on the Board of Adirondack Trust.
105 years of service! That warrants recognition. That's what Charles V Wait, president of Adirondack Trust thought. And when he canvassed his Board of Directors, he found they agreed. That is everyone except Douglass (Tim) Mabee. Charles did not canvas Tim because he and the Board wanted the recognition of the Mabee family service to be a surprise to Tim.
And what a surprise. A five-story building occupying a city block on the corner of Woodlawn and Church Street next to the new city parking lot.
The building was no surprise to Tim. As facilities manager (now retired) Tim had the responsibility of overseeing the construction, getting the appropriate furniture and furnishings, and seeing that there were no surprises during the construction.
The Bank will be using the top four floors for banking business. On the second floor will be the book-keeping and support services; on the third floor will be the insurance offices; the fourth and fifth floor will provide offices for the Trust Department - and a new Board Room and the President's Office.
The building maintains the bow window motif so prominent on the renovated buildings behind the original Adirondack Trust building on Broadway. From the windows one can see south to the Helderbergs and beyond; to the east Equinox and Willard Mountains.
The ground floor will be reserved for retail space. Retailers who will be local merchants will have a special rental rate about half of the going rate for downtown. It's not for merchants already on Broadway but for new retailers and at the end of five years they will have to vacate - hopefully to Broadway. Wait says it's like an incubator program to encourage small
While you wait for elevators on the ground floor, check out the huge HUD Armstrong mural. It used to hang in the Hub Grill. It was painted in 1976 and incorporates many, many people still seen around town.
The Building is still being finished (under Tim's watchful eye) and the decorating and the pictures have to be hung. Come late May or early June Adirondack Trust will have an Open House so you can visit and see the
latest off-Broadway attraction Saratoga Springs.