Stuyvesant Plaza Gets Upgrades

Jul 5 / Press

GUILDERLAND — If all goes as planned, visitors to Stuyvesant Plaza about a year from now will see some new attractions including a green space in what is now the western edge of the plaza’s spacious parking lot. They’ll have cornhole games, a coin-operated kid’s ride and seating with umbrellas.
Aimed at enhancing the plaza’s already relaxed, visitor-friendly ambiance, the new spot will top off what is an ongoing year-long refreshing of the 240,000-square-foot, 64-year-old plaza, the first major overhaul in a decade.

The new green space is in keeping with efforts by retail centers everywhere to make shopping a more holistic experience — in this case, an outdoor-friendly one.

“Being outdoors is a big part of being in upstate New York,” said plaza General Manager Rachel Ferluge.

Painting has already started as part of the plaza’s upgrade although Ferluge stressed that the overall architecture will remain the same, with something of a retro, ’50s-era feel.

A Schenectady native with experience in the New York City luxury retail world who also worked at the plaza when she was a University at Albany student, Ferluge was brought in by WS Development.

That Massachusetts-based company took majority control of Stuyvesant Plaza last year from the Swyer Companies, the firm operated by Ed Swyer, whose late father, Lewis, opened the plaza in 1959. Swyer still owns the Executive Park office building next door and retains an interest in Stuyvesant Plaza.
Like other WS properties in Tampa and Palm Beach, Fla. as well as Lynnfield, Mass. and in the Midwest, the plaza is what Ferluge described as an “outdoor lifestyle center,” where people can gather, meet up with friends, have coffee or lunch outdoors, take a yoga class, visit the post office and shop.

The end of COVID-19 restrictions has been especially welcome given the social nature of this space. “People are meeting up again,” Ferluge said.

One thing that has changed under WS ownership is the entry of several new national chain retailers such as the Warby Parker eyewear store and the new Sur La Table kitchen goods shop. Part of that is driven by customer demand, Ferluge said, and part reflects the growth of online commerce and the synergies those can bring to retailing.

Both Warby Parker and Sur La Table have large online presences.

Ferluge stressed that Stuyvesant Plaza still has plenty of local, independent shops, ranging from the Book House to Pearl Grant Richman’s gifts, which is the plaza’s oldest retailer.

Also on tap are some holiday pop-up spots or retailers carrying items aimed at certain times of year such as the Christmas/Hanukkah season.
Three local businesses, Circles, Lola Saratoga and Peaches Café, have recently renewed their leases as has Pearl Grant Richman’s.

“These businesses are staples of the Capital Region community and we’re proud that they are part of the Stuyvesant Plaza family,” Ferluge said.