In the middle of what was once an extensive manufacturing district in the City of Little Falls, the demolition of an abandoned factory revealed the historic beauty of two deteriorating 150 year old stone buildings and sparked the imaginations of local property owners who formed the Canal Place Development Association in 1988. The Association turned the site of the factory into a park, created another park alongside the canal, and secured grants to make a host of improvements to the area.
The development group renovated one of the stone buildings for use as an antique center, boutique shops, and apartments, transforming a run-down building into a showcase. Their success prompted investors to buy the other stone building, where a second antique shop was located, establishing Little Falls as a destination for antique hunters. Restaurants, galleries, and an arts center now round out a diverse cultural mix that makes Canal Place a unique historic gem along the Erie Canal.
As a testament to these efforts and to the significance of the site, Canal Place has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.This is the official list of properties recognized as significant in the history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture of the Empire State and the nation.
The Development Association drew on existing physical assets, including historic structures and waterfront location, in development planning.
The project contributes to waterfront revitalization in Little Falls. It improved physical linkages and reduced perceived barriers between the city and its waterfront.
Re-Use of Historic Structures
Successfully re-using former mill buildings and including diverse business offerings such as antique and boutique shops, an arts center, theater, restaurants, and apartments led to project success. The diverse clientele draws city residents and visitors to Canal Place daily. Canal Place Development Association cultivated an extraordinary “sense of place” among business owners, employees, and residents based on the unique setting of Canal Place.