When I first saw the renderings of 18 Division Street, I was kind of shocked. How would a contractor, particularly one very familiar with the workings of Saratoga, think they could get an imitation factory-style dwelling built in Victorian Downtown Saratoga!? I’ve sat in design review meetings that spent hours on the design of a single downtown store sign. What is the precedent for a factory style building in the Saratoga Springs historic area? As the steel went up during the early phases of construction I lost interest in the injustice, and was amazed at the size of the structure. It was just huge. Nowadays you just don’t see that much steel in a building around the capital region. I remember seeing the brochure, which was very modern. I thought it was very nice, including all the graphics that went with it. I think one of the local companies designed all the identity materials, which they still use even today.
So now, two years later, what do I think about it? Does it still look like an imitation old factory turned into loft apartments? No. Some architectural features really surprised me. In a good sense that is. A nice mixture of textures were used, including glass, brick, steel, and fake or real stone.
I took this image before Chianti’s was opened up, but You can see it is a pretty nice looking structure. the large windows are reminiscent of a factory, but still clean and modern. Yet, some parts look just as bad as the original illustration, the dreadful mustard colored dormers. Obviously the architect wanted them to be the most important feature of the building. Nothing else is that color on the entire structure. There seems to be no purpose in highlighting them at all.
So is this a worthwhile building in the new Saratoga Downtown? It certainly is large, so it is hard to overlook, but it is not a feature building, it is a supporting structure that works well, complementing some of the beautiful buildings that exist on Broadway. Luckily, it covers 25 percent of the Wise building, one of the worst building exeriors in the downtown area.