Ellsworth Commons in Malta – Where’s my Coffee?

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Ellsworth Commons | Malta NY

Ellsworth Commons has become an almost laughable landmark in “downtown Malta”.  Nearly six months ago, I was happy, eager and optimistic at what the future of Ellsworth Commons would hold.  Now, after my phone calls have been ignored countless times by the property manager and I can’t seem to get any information at all about potential commercial tenants, I’m not pleased.

There’s something wrong at Ellsworth Commons

I recall clearly reading the sign (long been taken down) that said, Ellsworth Commons, Delivery March 2012.  March came and went, April and May did as well.  It begs the question, what is happening to Ellsworth Commons and what is wrong?  I know for one that the price they are charging for commercial space is about $18 per square foot; comparable to Clifton Park Center.  As of this post, only two contracts for commercial space have been signed; Myrtle Street Ob/GYN, and DNS Electronics LLC, which is a semiconductor equipment supplier (as reported by the Business Review in April).  Hardly places to enjoy a cup of coffee.  In the project’s defense, almost half of the 312 apartments have been rented.  But what about that 70,000 sq ft of retail and office space?Ellsworth Commons Rendering | Malta NY

We have the Malta Farmers Market – but we need more!

Rumors and excitement over a Starbucks, Panera, a brew pub, and boutique shopping have disappeared.  I was looking forward to a summer being able to walk to my new neighborhood shops, to stay in Malta for coffee, a nice dinner, a drink, an ice cream cone.  Thank goodness for the new Malta Farmers’ Market, which by the way opens this Tuesday at 3pm by the Malta Community Center!  Malta is coming along, but we need more to keep residents shopping, dining, and spending their money in Malta.

Remember Excelsior Park in Saratoga?

Excelsior Park | Saratoga NY | New UrbanismEllsworth Commons is a development in the ‘New Urbanism‘ style.  I heard that term kicked around a lot about eight years ago when my husband and I looked into buying a townhouse in Saratoga’s Excelsior Park.  (Right off of Exit 15 by that Residence Inn).  We were being heavily sold on that concept and promises of shops, restaurants, bakeries, dry cleaners, etc. right in our community.

While I wouldn’t call Excelsior Park a total flop, their website, which hasn’t been updated since 2005 should give you an indication of how the project unfolded, or didn’t.  With only Phase I completed, Excelsior Park now consists of some awkwardly isolated condos, townhouses and a Residence Inn, with no other sign of life there.  I imagine we’re not the only one’s extremely thankful that we didn’t buy a townhouse in Excelsior Park!

Will New Urbanism work in Malta?

The concept leaves me very optimistic, but the execution of Ellsworth Commons leaves me doubting.

What do you think about Ellsworth Commons Do you love it?  Hate it?  Optimistic?

Tell us what you think!

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15 Comments

  1. We just bought property and are building in this area and we were super excited about Ellsworth Commons when we were driving around looking at our new town this summer. What’s happening there is a huge disappointment. We live over in CP now and, while developed, the CP Center open mall is nothing but chain restaurants and a few kids shops. We had hyped the changes in CP Center up so much when we moved back to the area. I’m not sure why it is that we can’t seem to draw exciting outdoor centers like you see in the suburbs of Texas and North Carolina. Heck, even the plaza in Niskayuna has better anchor stores than anything we’ve seen in Southern Saratoga County.

    • Thanks for the comment Niki. I agree, there are so many projects in Saratoga County with the potential to be great, but seem to be falling short. CP Center has come a long way, and I think it’s finally attracting more than just chain stores/restaurants. Unfortunately, with the cost of commercial space, it’s hard to attract many independent stores and restaurants. Only the chains can afford it!

  2. I do not love Ellsworth Commons. I do not even like it. The multiple-story buildings have destroyed the ambiance of that particular stretch of Route 9 and look grossly out of place. I too was looking forward to sandwich cafes, delis and coffee shops. I fear I am to be sadly disappointed. Apparently the “market research” done before this project commenced was in error or ignored. I do hope that I am wrong about the eventual outcome, but I am not optimistic.

  3. I am still hopeful. Unfortunately these things take time. Maybe after people start moving into the apartments then the commercial space will fill up.

    • I’m somewhat hopeful Kim, but feeling much more pessimistic as the months drag on! Thanks for your comment. Let’s meet for coffee if and when we are able to; in Malta!

  4. I’m actually look at renting at these properties. I know, I know. But, it is the type of apartment I am looking for. There doesn’t seem to be a lot like this around.

    Does anyone know people that live there?

    • Hi EZ, thanks for the comment. I think the apartments look pretty nice actually and are priced competitively. I don’t know anyone that lives there currently, but I think they are close to being fully rented. Good luck with your search!

  5. Educated Malta Resident on

    Do you have any idea how hard is is to get a commercial loan? How about how long it takes to develop a commercial space from scratch… You really thought you would have a cup of coffee by now? Bottom line you would love the project if you had a bunch of stuff to see and do there… I drove by the farmers market the other day yeah that looks like great fun, bet you can spend hours there. How is their coffee lol.

    • Dear Educated Malta Resident, you’re right, I have no idea how hard it is to get a commercial loan, but that really doesn’t matter because I’m basing my opinion on facts. I did think I’d have a cup of coffee by now because the original delivery date for Ellsworth Commons was March 2012. If you had read my post from back in December, I was a strong supporter of this project; and one of very few supporters!

      I’m not sure why you are ‘dissing’ the Malta Farmers’ Market! As a matter of fact, you can get coffee there; and wine, meat, fruits, vegetables, tapinade, cookies, cheese, and yogurt. I would assume that an “educated Malta resident” would be interested in supporting local farmers.

      From one educated Malta resident to another, I thank you for your comment.

  6. Dear EZ,
    I currently live at Ellsworth Commons having moved in mid-May. My apartment search took me through Clifton Park, Malta and Saratoga Springs. Having ruled out Steeplechase based alone on price, I have to say I’m moderately pleased with EC. Most of the finishing work in my apartment was of poor quality considering the price I pay each month. However, the upkeep of the grounds, walkways, hallways and elevators has pleased me thus far. I guess we’ll see when the snow starts falling! I too was looking forward to shops and dining but the woman who showed me the apartments made it clear they had no idea who or when would be moving in. I’ll wait it out til my lease ends in May and if nothing has opened will likely look again in Saratoga for something close to Broadway.

    • Thanks for following up Jennifer. I hope that things get rolling over there soon and more businesses end up leasing space. I think there will be many like you that will end up moving out if nothing happens. I’m glad you are happy overall living there. Thanks for the comment!

  7. I think the problem with EC is that it is too close to the road. You can not park in front of the building, and people driving by on Route 9 aren’t going to assume there is any thing in the back, where the parking is–and even at that, parking is limited. Sitting in a cafe either requires you to park your car (or bike), or easy access by walking. None of this is true for EC. The concept is a nice idea, but there needs to be more people within waking distance during the weekday, or better parking.

  8. Mike Cournoyer on

    My wife went to the new eye glass store in Ellsworth Commons, Hughes, this past summer because it was close and walking distance. She spent over $800.00 for a pair and they are great. Tom said if you need any adjustments please come back and we’ll take care of you. They were there only 5 months and now they are closed and I would have to travel to Delmar if I need something from them. If I knew they were not staying there I would have never purchased glasses there. OUTRAGIOUS!!!!!!!! Nobody can see the store where it was located and nothing else is in any of the other stores around them. If it wasn’t for taking my walk I would have never knew they were located there.

    • Mike,
      That really stinks about the glasses. It’s impossible for stores to stay open when there’s virtually no foot traffic and no other anchor stores or restaurants. That’s a real drag now to have to drive to Delmar. At least you tried to support your local business, unfortunately it backfired this time.

      I think I need to do a part 3 of this post series on Ellsworth Commons because I’ve recently learned of even more issues regarding the two supposedly “coming soon” businesses; Wired Coffee and Bagels and Plum Dandy. From what I’ve heard there have been numerous issues with the contractors which has led to some serious delays. If I were either Wired or Plum Dandy, I would just choose another location at this point given they are more than six months behind schedule. Ugh! What a mess.

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