The Hamilton Initiative, LLC. was formed in 2000 by Colgate University and funded by gifts from alumni, parents and friends. The mission of the Hamilton Initiative is to foster the growth and development of Hamilton in ways that serve the mutual interests of the greater Hamilton area and Colgate University.
Since 2000, the Hamilton Initiative has invested nearly $30 million in the revitalization of the town. It has purchased and renovated nine buildings within the downtown historic district. Hamilton Initiative properties now house varied and viable businesses that appeal to residents, students and visitors. The Palace Theater, LLC (a performing arts center) presents live performances ranging from variety shows like The Capitol Steps to university theater productions. The Hamilton Theater, LLC, presents first and second run feature films together with a popular independent film series. The Colgate Inn, LLC serves as a community center for visitors and residents hosting meetings and provides excellent accommodations and dining.
In 2002, the Colgate Bookstore moved from the campus into the centrally-located Sperry Block where it has become an anchor store and regional attraction for the downtown business district. The university also moved their Institutional Advancement offices downtown. This move brought an additional 50 people downtown on a daily basis adding to the vitality of the village core. In 2014, Colgate’s Alumni Relations offices were moved from campus to the NBT Bank building upper levels, which now adjoin the Institutional Advancement offices, to enable a more cohesive and centralized location the entire team.
While the Hamilton Initiative is a “for profit” organization, its operating principles are not based on profit at the outset, but on restoring commercial space in a way that contributes to the economic vitality of downtown. The hope is that the investment made by the Hamilton Initiative will spur additional investments by others in the community.
In addition to managing and maintaining its properties, the Hamilton Initiative actively promotes Hamilton as a destination for Colgate alumnae, parents and other visitors. The goals are to increase the number of visitors to Hamilton and their duration of stay, and to increase the population of Hamilton. The focus is on enhancing and expanding the quality of hospitality offerings, working to make Hamilton a compelling destination, and working to make Hamilton a more attractive and affordable place to live for faculty and staff.
The Hamilton Initiative, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University. It is managed by a staff led by executive director Liam McDevitt and guided by the Hamilton Initiative Advisory Committee comprised primarily of current and former members of the University’s Board of Trustees, key Colgate staff and the president of the Partnership for Community Development Board of Directors.
Properties and related businesses:
- Colgate Inn, LLC, The Colgate Inn has 34 guest rooms and 6 suites, meeting rooms and a restaurant. Inn operations are managed by Charlestowne Hotels.
- 3 Utica Street: at the intersection of Utica and Lebanon Streets, is a three-story structure with four storefronts and a dramatic corner entrance. Home of the Colgate University Bookstore.
- 10-14 Utica Street: Fojo Beans Coffee Roasters, Maxwells Chocolates and Ice Cream and the Mid-York Weekly newspaper are on the ground level. Colgate University Institutional Advancement offices are on the second and third floors.
- 18-20 Utica Street: the main floor is occupied by Thought Into Action (TIA), and several offices occupy the second floor.
- 24-26 Utica Street: the first floor is occupied by Hamilton Village Real Estate and Main Moon Chinese Restaurant. Two apartments are located on the upper level.
- 2 Broad Street: SWANK, a home furnishings retail shop, and Katie Fargo Skin Care occupy the street level, with apartments on the second and third floors.
- 3-5 Madison Street: The Zen Den, a yoga and Pilates studio, occupies the ground level. Hamilton Massage Therapy and a counseling service occupy the second level.
- Hamilton Theater, LLC: 7 Lebanon Street, movie theater with 3 screens, two of which have 3-D capability. Also on the on the ground floor is Shol’s Boutique, a women’s clothing boutique and Friends and Pho Vietnamese Cuisine. Apartments occupy the second floor, and offices are located on the third floor.
- Palace Theater, LLC: 19 Utica Street, home to Arts at the Palace, a non-profit organization which offers high quality visual and performing arts programming.
Contact: Liam McDevitt, Executive Director