Rental Space Open at 'Vanilla Factory,' Nyack's Oldest Commercial Building

Real estate listings and recent sales in Nyack, Piermont and surrounding communities

The local real estate market had a decent week of new inventory and new sales—12 new listings hit the market, including great commercial space in our featured property, the "Vanilla Factory."

Considered to be Nyack's oldest commercial/industrial building, this landmark structure was built around 1839. And according to Nyack Library research, it has had many names and uses over the years. Officially named the Azariah Ross Building, this property was purchased in 1838 by Ross for $1,500 from Peter and Elenor Smith. The property consisted of 10 acres that ran from the Hudson river all the way up to the "division line of the top of the mountain."

Ross built the brick building and used it as a general store until he sold the property in 1855. It was later sold to A.J. and H.E. Storms, two brothers that used the building for their cedar tub and pail factory. After auctioning off the property and several deed transfers, the property was later used for furniture storage by the Nyack Express Company around 1887. The hoist that was used during that time is still on the roof (see photos).

Around 1903, an "engine shop" was installed, and in 1905, Abram DeClark purchased the building at an auction for $500.

That's right—only $500 bucks. 

In 1910, the building was occupied by the Colgan Manufacturing Company, a firm that produced oil compounds. Their machines were driven by steam power, and the building had no electric lights. Around 1926, after electric lights were added, the Colgan Company was replaced by the Seeley & Company Fruit Juice Manufacturing Firm. It was the pleasant aromas from all the flavorings and extracts being produced that led to this building being forever referred to as the "Vanilla Factory."

From around 1971 to around 1995, the building was home to the Elizabeth Seeger School, a small progressive high school started by several break-away teachers from the Dalton School in NYC. The school embodied some of the original Dalton principles. More recently it was purchased by a local attorney and was tastefully renovated to accommodate modern professional uses. 

I am proud to announce that space has opened up in this Nyack landmark building. There is approximately 1,100 square-feet of stylish office space available that offers high ceilings, wide plank wood floors, transom windows, four spacious rooms, river views, parking and a large central office area with an inviting entrance for clients. The rental space is being offered at $2,200 per month.


On the sales front, the regions saw six properties go under contract, and seven properties title transfer. Included in these sales was a ranch in Upper Nyack at 104 Wydendown that sold for $452,000, a new construction at 104 No. Franklin in Nyack that sold for $565,000, and a condo at 509 Gair Street in Piermont that sold for $1,325,000. 

With that, here are your listings:

New Listings:

1 Church Lane, Valley Cottate (condo)        $165,000

7 E. Lawrence Park, Piermont (condo)        $179,000

21 Village Gate Way, Nyack (condo)            $265,000

175 Charles Blvd, Valley Cottage (Split)      $325,000

107 High Ave, Nyack (condo)                     $329,000

681 W.Nyack Rd, West Nyack (2 fam)         $339,000

45 Route 59, Central Nyack (commercial)    $395,000

639 Main St, Sparkill (New Condo)             $395,000

7 Heather Lane, W.Nyack (Col/Cape)          $429,000

493 Strawtown Rd, W.Nyack (Col)               $949,000


Under Contract:  List Price/ Days on the Market

778 Sierra Vista, V.Cottage (condo)         $289,900/ 122 DOM

6 East Ave, W.Nyack (Ranch)                  $359,000/ 248 DOM

122 Demarest Mill Rd, W.Nyack (bi-lev)   $459,000/ 127 DOM

40 Muroney Ave, Palisades (ranch)          $550,000/ 190 DOM

20 Stevenson St, Piermont (Col)             $799,000/ > 2yrs

248-50 Piermont Ave, Piermont (Col)      $945,000/ 1.5 years.


Title Transfers:  Sale Price/ Days on Market/ % of Orig. List Price

318 Ash St, Piermont (condo)                 $140,000/ 8 DOM/ 88%

142 Germonds, W.Nyack (ranch)             $182,000/ > 2yrs/ 61%

3 Salisbury Pt, So.Nyack (co-op)             $270,000/ 5 DOM/ 90%

63 Foxwood Rd, W.Nyack (split)              $390,000/ 51 DOM/ 99%

104 Wydendown Rd, Up.Nyack (ranch)   $452,000/ 240 DOM/ 86%

104 No.Franklin, Nyack (new const)       $565,000/ 167 DOM/ 94%

509 Gair St, Piermont (condo)               $1,325,000/ 1 DOM/ 95%


Please feel free to leave comments and questions. For more photos and information, please visit my website.

I would like to thank Brian Jennings at the Nyack Library for his excellent historical research.

James F. Leiner January 25, 2012 at 03:34 PM
My good friend Brian might have over looked a very important event at the Vanilla Factory...I either 1955 or 56 (have to check) there was a tremendous fire here. I "think" the fire is often referred to as at the "Rope" Factory. I am sure there is a photo of the firetrucks on Main Street in the NFD's history journal. :"Alarms & Details" published in 1963...
Steven Dolinsky January 25, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Hey James. You're right. There was information about a fire back on September 10th, 1896. And there is evidence of a more recent fire based on charred wood found in the south east corner of the second floor on the undersides of the third floor joists. The damage was said to be superficial leaving the original joists intact. I never found anything about a "Rope" Factory, but you could be right. Thanks for the comment.
Karen Houghton January 25, 2012 at 07:31 PM
My parents, Bob and Margaret Mundell, were the first folks to rehab the building back around 1967. Prior to that it had been an extract factory as your informative article said. They had an antique and restoration business on the first floor and lived on the second. They were part of that initial wave of antique sellers to homestead Nyack and "pick" the treasures out of Perry's warehouse house on High Ave. (aka: Nyack Express). They named it "The Vanilla Factory" because vanilla extract would ooze out of the beams and very old wood floors in the warm weather and in the old stone basement their were dozens of 5 gallon bottles of it! I used to help my dad hoist furniture up to the 3rd floor using the old hoist that is still on the north side of the building. He was told they used the hoist to haul up fruit and chemicals to the third floor where they distilled the extract. Apparently the whole cavernous third floor was full of old cooper stills that would be cooking the stuff and would occasionally overflow ....causing the beams and wood floors to become saturated with the vanilla goo. The stills were gone by the time they moved in (to my father's regret!) and the building was pretty much an abandoned, drafty shell. But they managed to fix it up themselves and created a business and home there when that whole neighborhood was down on its luck....now only some places (like The John Green House) are in that situation.
Steven Dolinsky January 25, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Hey Karen....thank you for sharing such wonderful history. I didn't realize that your family named it the Vanilla Factory. That's pretty cool. And I had thought the hoist was used for lifting the furniture but apparently it was also for the fruit and chemicals as well. Next time I go to the building, I will check out the basement and sniff around...maybe I will be able to smell the vanilla...it happens to be one of my favorite aromas. Thank you again.
Brian Clay Jennings January 26, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Thanks for the mention Steve, we really stand on the shoulders of giants at the library. A great deal of the info. I sent was from the Survey of Historic Buildings Village of Nyack, New York - Robert Niewig and Karen Reinmann, 1989 which is available in the local history room in our ready reference shelves and call # 720 NIE. The photograph Jim is referring to is online here: http://www.hrvh.org/u?/nyacklib,496 - although the building is obscured by the smoke.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »