The Phoenix House of North Central Troy

The “phoenix house” is the home on the far left – and those two pink buildings on the right are Habitat houses under construction!

After a fire more than 20 years ago, the “phoenix house” of North Central Troy resurrected this year as an owner-occupied, two-family home thanks to community partners and the hard work of its new Habitat homeowner.

The house, originally built in 1890, is one of many stone-faced homes along its block of North Central, Troy. Since a fire in the 1990s, the house lay vacant. 

We acquired the property from the Troy Community Land Bank in 2017. The TCLB remained co-developers on this project. Joe Fama, an active neighborhood resident and historian, said it would have been an “architectural crime” to remove the classic facade from the block.

It was Joe’s enthusiasm for his neighborhood and the house, along with the expertise and guidance from our engineers, that drove us to maintain the facade in an effort to help stabilize, instead of disrupt, the neighborhood’s character. We believe Habitat homes serve two purposes: to provide safe, affordable places for families to call home and to become—or stay!—part of a neighborhood. (We’ll talk about the construction aspect of the project later this month!)

“That’s what we have here. This neighborhood is changing without changing. This project is a fine example of what’s happening on these two blocks,” Joe said.

Having built in Troy since 1997, we identified North Central as a focus neighborhood in 2014. We concentrate our efforts block-by-block to maximize impact, and identify focus neighborhoods with the help of the community. The neighborhood used to be the northern most part of Troy, before the city acquired the Village of Lansingburgh, hence the name North Central. The neighborhood had experienced decades of disinvestment, and we are proud to collaborate with local organizations be part of its revitalization. Encompassing just two blocks, the neighborhood is tight-knit and has much to be proud of in its past, present and future.

In partnerships with the City of Troy and the Troy Community Land Bank, we began both new construction and rehab projects in the neighborhood. A similarly stone-faced rehab project down the block on 5th Ave began in 2015, with two more rehabs on 6th Ave. Currently, we have one rehab and two new construction projects in the neighborhood. We have built and sold four two-family homes in North Central.

Affordable homeownership can help stabilize families and their neighborhoods by creating a situation where families can save and plan for their future, where children have a safe place to study and play, and neighborhoods have productive, taxable property bases. Habitat partners with families and communities to build strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership.

Next: Building the phoenix house

Read coverage of the Phoenix House here: News10 Channel13 WNYT Troy Record

Explore the history of North Central Troy here and here.