Danz purchases site of former convent, restaurants

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Hoping for a revival: Todd Danz said he’s not yet sure what will be going into the building at 1903 New Scotland Rd. that his family’s real-estate holding company recently purchased. In the past, the building — with a stone facade in front of an old brick farmhouse — has been a convent, restaurant, and church.

NEW SCOTLAND — A former convent turned restaurant turned church will again be resurrected — as what, the new owner is not yet sure.

The nine-acre lot at 1903 New Scotland Rd., the town’s major thoroughfare, was recently purchased from James P. Jeffers for $410,000 by the owners of Family Danz Heating and Cooling, through its real-estate holding company, Danz Development, LLC, according to the Albany County Clerk’s website

Todd Danz, the general manager of Family Danz Heating and Cooling, told The Enterprise the Danzes have not yet decided what will go on the land.

“We’re not 100-percent sure yet,” he said, adding, “We’ve only had it for a week and a half now.”

The site has a long history, dating back to the 1800s; in the 1840s, the farmhouse was built. The block-stone building was added in front in 1966, when the building was used as a convent.

After the nuns left, the building found new life housing restaurants: First, as The Heavenly Inn family restaurant; next as the gourmet L’Auberge Suisse; followed by J.J. Maddens pub; and next as Big Box bar, a play on the big-box store controversy that would have been built next door.

In 2015, the building once again found religion, this time as a church for the Restoration Hill Ministry, which then began to rent out the space as apartments.

“We’re trying to sit down and come up with our own master plan,” Danz said about the future of the space.

Danz grew up in Slingerlands and, along with his parents and one brother, currently resides in Altamont. He also has one brother who lives in Voorheesville. He has two children. And he is the general manager of his family-owned business, Family Danz Heating and Cooling.

The building has fallen into disrepair, said Danz.

“It would need upgrades and some work, and probably a new facade. Certainly, the back of the building would need substantial renovations,” Danz said. “I’m sure the old farmhouse that’s attached to the back of the building was beautiful at one time, but, unfortunately, it was never kept up and it’s in very, very poor shape.”

If he decides to take the restaurant route, Danz plans on acting as a landlord, not a restaurateur.

“I have experience running a business; I don’t have any experience running a restaurant — I wouldn’t pretend to know that either. I know that’s a very difficult business.”

Danz said that he has already had several owners of local restaurants reach out to him, who are possibly interested in putting in a restaurant.

Asked if he was worried, given the fates of prior businesses in the location, Danz points out that, now, there is a lot more development that is happening in the area. He said that the Kay development — retail space nearby on Route 85A — was recently approved, that there are housing developments going in on either side of the golf course, and another development on Hilton Road.

Danz said that before he makes any decisions he wants to talk with the town.

“I don’t want to be one of the developers that comes in and says, ‘Hey, I’m gonna jam a big store down your throat.’”  

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