The Times Union Real Estate blog has an entry listing information from a report about condo sales in the Capital Region, including Saratoga County. It doesn't report anything you didn't already know, namely that the number of condos sold and the average price has dropped, but the specific numbers are interesting anyway.
The entry mentioned the now scrapped plans to build the Capital Grand condominium project on the outskirts of downtown Albany. The developer there was Norstar Development USA, the same company that first proposed, then put on hold indefinitely, the townhome project on Union Avenue on the site of the former Skidmore College's Pink Palace. Norstar purchased the parcel from Skidmore last year, and the company's apparent strategy is to just sit on the property for a few years until people get silly (again) with their real estate purchases and this project, or perhaps a scaled back one, can get started. The key relevance of that is that the Pink Palace today just sits there empty, with overgrown weeds, some graffiti, and perhaps broken windows and rodents.
I can't say that Norstar is a bad company, because I simply don't know, but what can say is that when I did a Google news search on the comany, all the links reported projects with apparent problems. One article from Niagara Falls called one of their projects "scandalous" (see here and here). In all fairness, this negative press could simply be indicative of a company understandably struggling during this economy, which has been especially hard on the real estate sector. The problem for us is that Norstar Development USA owns a big empty building on one of Saratoga Springs' most majestic of all avenues, and in my opinion they are a lousy caretaker of it. Last year I had to call the company's Buffalo office, as well as Mayor Johnson's office, just to get them to cut the grass (I live nearby and the long grass was annoying to me). They aren't even maintaining their own web site, because the page about the Union Avenue Townhomes is so outdated that it states "completion in 2009". I hope the city will be on them this year to ensure the grass gets cut, get rid of the weeds (including some growing from the roof), piles of debris (fire prone, by the way), graffiti, and other problems indicative of an abandoned building.
Previous posts on this topic:
November 6, 2008 - Deadsville?
February 12, 2009 - Townhome Development on Union Avenue on hold
May 18, 2009 - Skidmore "Pink Palace" project shows signs of life
September 16, 2009 - EYESORE! The Pink Palace needs to be razed or at least maintained.