An old abandoned pharmacy in Amsterdam rehabilitated into a law firm

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AMSTERDAM – A long-standing restoration project at an old business along Route 30 has been completed, giving a Gloversville law firm a new office in Amsterdam.

Law firm Abdella and Sise cut the ribbon on Friday on its new office at 186 Market Street, which decades ago was the location of Tesiero’s apothecary and more recently had been rented out by the store of Apropos formal wear.

“It was a big and expensive project, but well worth it,” said Joe Sise.

The law firm consists of two Abdellas and two Sises, each descended from several lawyers with several generations of legal practice in Montgomery and Fulton counties.

The Abdella law firm was founded in 1939 by Ernie Abdella in Gloversville and run by his son George, who now practices with his son Bob.

The late Robert Sise was a longtime judge of successively higher rank in the county and state. Three of his sons followed him into the legal profession, and when he retired from the bench he joined two of them in their practice, which has since closed.

Robert’s son, Joe Sise, meanwhile became a prosecutor and then a judge himself, rather than going into private practice.

Despite having spent 23 years on the bench, Joe Sise decided to quit at a relatively young age, and Bob Abdella stopped to propose a partnership when he heard the news.

Joe, not ready to retire, agreed.

“He’s just a first-rate, generous person with a big heart,” said Sise.

His wife, Robin Lynch Sise, herself a third-generation lawyer, is also a partner in the firm. It’s not a large staff, but they decided to add a second office, more as an investment in the firm than a free hand.

“I’m from Amsterdam, Bob is from Fulton County,” Sise said. “This is one way for us to expand our practice and serve our clients in both counties.

Their new office in Amsterdam was a wreck when they bought it. The owner of Propos told the Daily Gazette in 2012 that she was moving to Guilderland in part because the rented space on Market Street was deteriorating. Apparently, little had been done to stop or reverse the degradation since then.

“It was in complete disrepair, there were trash can-sized holes in the roof,” Sise said. There were still mannequins crammed into a corner when he first saw it.

Google Street View shows the building a few years ago with a missing front window, cracked and weed-covered sidewalks, and an open window overlooking an attic where a few dozen pigeons had taken up residence.

The building was demolished and rebuilt, the entire roof and south wall replaced, as well as the ground that the pigeons had filed down.

The whole process took two years, a little longer than it probably took, Sise said. “At first we struggled to get approval for asbestos removal,” he said. “I kind of dragged my feet on it.”

In its vacant and crumbling state, the building retained the profile of its pharmacy days, and restoration continued. Aluminum awnings are gone, but something like the original canvas awnings from 70 years ago could be installed someday. The floor-to-ceiling windows still face the sidewalk and the door leading diagonally to the corner of Market and Lincoln is still the main entrance.

Inside, leather-covered furniture rests on sparkling laminate floors.

Sise said he was happy and proud to be working in a renovated part of his hometown, the pharmacy he visited as a child.

“Rehabilitating the old Tesiero apothecary was really special,” he said.


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