Since the Walter Elwood Museum took ownership of the sprawling Noteworthy Building on Church Street in 2013, Director Ann Peconie has endeavored to make spaces within the building available to rent for area businesses and non-profits. Currently the building, named The Rao Center in honor of donations made by Dr. Govind Rao which helped make the purchase of the building possible, is home to approximately a dozen businesses and organizations.
Recently, one of the museum’s first tenants, Flooring Authority, announced they will be purchasing their own building in the Amsterdam Industrial Park and moving their operations there to further expand their operations and warehouse space. Flooring Authority’s Business Development Manager Rosalie Faber cited the low cost of the rent at the building as being one of the factors that allowed them to be competitive on pricing for flooring supplies and installations.
“It was a good place to start because it was inexpensive,” said Faber during a recent interview. “In Albany, if we try to rent a place like this, it would cost a heck of a lot more. Even Schenectady now. It would cost us a lot more than what we have here. So this way we can be competitive in our pricing.”
“Flooring Authority was one of our early tenants,” said Peconie. “We were very lucky to have them come in and help us in our early years. They came in the summer of 2013. They did a wonderful job renovating, and they did that [as a] donation…That was right at beginning when we just secured this building. They really did a nice job with their offices. They put new flooring down and did a nice job painting. So I think that it really helped keep the building looking good and its going to help us secure future tenants.”
Some of the businesses currently residing at the building:
- ServiceMaster provides disaster recovery, fire, mold, and flood restorations for home owners and businesses in the Fulton, Montgomery, and Schoharie Counties, as well as the Schenectady and Albany areas.
- Montalvo Fitness offers kickboxing, grappling, and circuit training classes.
- Starlee Imports imports and sells bulk quantities of various paint brushes and paint roller frames. The business was a tenant before the museum acquired the building.
- Go Oil stocks small gas stations with motor oil, washer fluid, fix-a-flat, anti-freeze, and other car maintenance accessories. They were also a preexisting tenant for the museum.
- Booksmart sells textbooks online.
- The Patrick Morelli art studio showcases many of the artist’s sculptures and other artwork. Morelli’s work includes a piece titled “Behold” which is on display at the King National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Innertube Media is the building’s newest tenant and provides social media consulting, reputation management, content creation, email marketing, and other reporting services for small businesses.
Some of the non-profit organizations with offices in the building:
- Greenhill Cemetery
- The Alco and Historical Technical Society works to preserve the history of steam and diesel locomotives.
- The NY State Children’s Foundation provides services and aid to children who have experienced abuse or neglect.
- The Van Epps Hartley Chapter of the NY State Archaeological Association works to preserve Native American history.
- Bert Nepaulsingh is a retired University of Albany professor and museum board member and is using office space at the museum to work on a book about Walter Elwood’s travels in Thailand.
In addition to business and non-profit tenants, the museum also provides winter storage for cars, boats, RV’s, motorcycles, and other vehicles. All winter storage fees go directly to offset winter heating and utility bills for the museum, which Peconie described as “quite expensive.”
When asked about future plans for the building, Peconie said, “Our next plan is to change our front entrance for handicapped accessibility.”
She said that architectural and engineering work has already been completed, which was done on a volunteer basis. She expects to being a building fund drive next year in order to complete the modifications.