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Amsterdam, NY ,

Charlie Kraebel/Recorder Editor The Amsterdam Castle is shown Tuesday on the city's South Side. The former armory was sold late last month to a couple from Florida.

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Historic castle in Amsterdam sold

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - Updated: 4:08 AM

By CHARLIE KRAEBEL

Recorder Editor

The only armory in New York state converted into a private residence has been sold, and its former owners hope it will continue to be an anchor on Amsterdam's South Side.

The Amsterdam Castle sold last month for $825,000 to a "nice couple" from Florida, previous owner Manfred Phemister said Tuesday. Although the price is down from the $2.5 million original listing price, Phemister said he's happy the building has been sold.

Phemister, along with his wife, Susan, bought the former armory in 2005 and made extensive renovations to the building. Along with having it as their private residence, the couple also used it for a bed and breakfast.

Phemister said the new owners plan to continue operating it as a B&B.

"They're going to take it to the next level," he said.

Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane said the Phemisters will be "greatly missed, as they had been deeply committed to our community and its resurgence, but we expect that the new owners will be invested in seeing the community thrive."

Phemister believes the timing is right to continue improving the former armory, which was built in 1895 and is a former National Guard armory. When he and his family moved to Amsterdam after buying the castle, Phemister described the South Side as being "a little grim."

"We rolled up our sleeves and said 'let's do it,'" Phemister said of the extensive work done on the building, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 after it was decommissioned that same year. "Everyone else followed."

Phemister particularly pointed to the major changes taken along Bridge Street, which was rebuilt a few years ago. In that time, several new businesses have opened along the roadway.

The Phemisters' work on the building gained recognition in 2012 when the Preservation League of New York honored them with it Excellence in Historic Preservation Award.

That area is part of an overall major redevelopment initiative on the South Side that will start with the Mohawk River and the site of the former Chalmers knitting mills, which were recently torn down, and work its way up Bridge Street to the castle, which sits on the other end.

The Phemisters have a history of renovating old buildings, including a brownstone in Brooklyn and a factory in London. Now that they've sold the castle, Phemister said he and his family plan on living in Niskayuna "for a time" and don't have an immediate plans for buying another historic building to renovate.

That doesn't mean the couple won't eventually get back into restoring historic buildings.

"We're definitely going to take a break, and I don't think anyone will blame us," Phemister said. "I'm sure we will encounter something else."

     

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