Investing in Glens Falls: Meet the Davidson Family

Keith Davidson is the eldest of 5 children and grew up in Scotia, New York. In the spring of 1984, he moved to Glens Falls to run a franchise of College Pro Painters, with the plan to helm the business for one year and then join his brother Mike in various other business and real estate ventures that were already underway in Hanover and Lebanon, New Hampshire and White River Junction, Vermont.

Keith’s plans to move changed after he met his wife, Celeste. At the time, he was living in a home owned by his Uncle Bill Davidson on Coolidge Avenue. Celeste, daughter of local photographer and business owner, Joe Cervera of Cervera Studios, lived in the neighborhood, in fact, right across the street. The two were married in 1985 and have been in Glens Falls ever since.

The American Cancer Society and a Journey of Inspiration

For 10 years, Keith was an Affluent Market Property & Casualty Insurance Agent with Associates of Glens Falls Insurance, Inc. After volunteering for the American Cancer Society for 8 years, he co-founded Relay For Life of Queensbury in 1996. Keith became Adirondack Regional Director for the American Cancer Society, a position he served in for 10 years, from 2003 to 2013. In 2009, Keith joined the Society’s “Journeys of Inspiration (JOI),” where he accompanied cancer survivors on a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, summiting on February 23, 2009. Keith’s inspiration was his mother, Ellen, who had lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 1988, at the age of 47. He is pictured at left on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Family and life in Glens Falls

The couple have 3 children: Ryan, Erin, and Colin. Their middle child, Erin, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy who lives and works on the Island of Saint Croix in the Virgin Islands with her husband Blake. President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are among their island neighbors. And Colin, their youngest, is in the hospitality industry at Sticks and Stones in Schroon Lake, and is partners with his brother, Ryan, in SPOH Hops, LLC. They run the business out of the family’s farm in Cambridge, New York, where they have provided their Cascade hops to their downtown neighbors, Mean Max Brewery in Glens Falls, for their Autumn Brew.

They aren’t related to the Davidson Brothers, though they do attend the same church, St. Mary’s.

Their oldest, Ryan, never considered living anywhere else. After graduating with a Biology degree from LeMoyne College, he started DW Real Estate, LLC with his cousin, Eric Weinberg (the son of Celeste’s sister, Mary Jo). Keith’s brother, Ryan’s godfather, began buying properties when he was a freshman at Dartmouth and now has over 700 units. Ryan grew up watching his uncle do this, says Keith.

The pair now co-own The Pruyn Flats, formerly the Savoy Apartments, located on Elm Street in Glens Falls, an apartment building with a unique, distinctive four-and-a-half story glass-topped indoor atrium. The apartments needed more than their fair share of remodeling to update the 1970’s motifs. Plans are to fully remodel each unit. To date, they have updated 4 out of the 12 flats. Across DW Real Estate’s entire portfolio, they have renovated 17 of 31 apartments in the last 20 months. Some photos of The Pruyn Flats below.

Davidson Family Farms

Ryan and Colin also spearhead Davidson Family Farms. Davidson Family Farms is a build-your-own wedding venue and farmhouse lodging and retreat for families, artists, craftspeople and more, all housed on two 85-acre farms that are only ¾ of a mile apart.

Recently, they leased both farms to 11 female college seniors from Kenyon College in Ohio for the fall 2020 semester. Kenyon College had recently gone fully virtual and the students wanted to share their final year in college together. Most students were coming off of junior years abroad and hadn’t seen one another in over a year. The students were from 11 different states, from coast to coast across the United States.

Investing in the Glens Falls area

The Davidson Family continues to invest in the area, always looking at the next potential purchase, including a recent property on South Street.

Ryan and his cousin Eric own DW Real Estate and Keith does facilities, maintenance management, and sales. Eric resides in Virginia. Both Ryan and Eric have one-year olds, and Ryan works in a sterile lab at BD so he is very careful with COVID, Keith says — So it’s Keith as the face of the business, on location doing the renovations.

He does a lot of the artistic work with Ryan and Eric’s blessing. With Pruyn’s Flats, it lent itself to exposed brick, Keith says. “People stay for so many years, we’ve only had a few people leave to go to a retirement communities. The only trades we hire out are plumbing and electrical.”

Ryan and Keith visit every property together. Keith says Ryan is far more analytical, while he’s a little more romanced by the aesthetic of properties. They have Zoom meetings and a lot of photographs go back and forth when they’re contemplating a new property. Keith says they’re bullish on downtown. “I love downtown and I see a lot of good progress here and the boys do, too. No decisions are made in a vacuum. Two weeks ago we were looking at properties to figure out what’s next for acquisition.”

For the time being they are more interested in residential properties, but don’t rule out commercial opportunities.

The trio, Keith, Ryan and Eric, found that the demand for larger units was very high. Keith says he’s not afraid of knocking out a wall to make it happen, too.

Why they love it here

Keith and Ryan say they can’t imagine living anywhere else. They cite Charles R. Wood Theater, Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls Hospital, and the proximity to West Mountain to be huge draws and treasures in the community. They also credit the myriad of dining establishments and the year-round farmer’s market as small town, big-time bonuses.

Keith says of Glens Falls, “This region is amazing! We are the little engine that can!”

Ryan especially loves the outdoor recreation opportunities in our area and considers Glens Falls to be his version of paradise. Ryan says, “I can be hiking, swimming in one of our beautiful lakes, at the flat track or skiing in less than 45 minutes.”

The Davidson Family encourages others to relocate to Warren County. They believe that Glens Falls is a great area to live, start a family or retire. They want to see the region grow and thrive. They know the keys to that success are the passionate, friendly and hardworking people who call this area of Warren County home.