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Daily Gazette: Socha Management in Glenville turns 60 years old, passes to third generation

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GLENVILLE — The real estate management company formed in 1959 by the late Walt and Sophie Socha will transition June 30 from the leadership of their son, Bill, to their grandchildren Grant and Taylor.

Bill Socha said he now holds the reins to Socha Management in name only — Grant and Taylor are doing at least 80 percent of the actual work of running it. But he wants to finish out the 60th fiscal year of what has been the only long-term employer he’s ever had.

“To me it’s quite fitting,” said Bill, who at 59 is one year younger than the family business. “I’ll step down and my adult children will take over.”

Socha Management, formerly Walter J. Socha Builders Inc., transitioned over the six decades from single-family housing construction to apartment construction to apartment/commercial rental management.

It sold off its original residential complex, Indian Brook Apartments on Van Buren Road, and now has a single 60-acre campus on Route 50 comprising the 460-unit Shady Brook Apartments and the 120,000-square-foot Socha Plaza.


It’s a significant presence on the town’s commercial corridor, and light years ahead of where Walt and Sophie Socha started.

Both were children of Polish immigrants: He grew up in the Polish-American enclave along Eastern Avenue in Schenectady, she on a Clifton Park farm.

When he was 12, Walt lost his father in a workplace accident at the Alco locomotive factory and he had to work from an early age to support his family. He started as a mason’s helper.

“Then he formed his own mason contracting business,” Bill said. “Started doing sidewalks, front stoops on people’s houses were big back then, then worked up to foundations. After a few of those he decided, ‘I’m going to be a homebuilder.’ Somewhere in there he met my mom and they got married, and together said, ‘Let’s start this building business.’ ”

Bill Socha inside their Flex Office suites in Socha Plaza in Scotia on Monday, December 23, 2019.

Bill Socha inside their Flex Office suites in Socha Plaza in Scotia on Monday, December 23, 2019.

The 1950s and ’60s were the great boom era for American suburbs, and Glenville and Clifton Park were no different. Walter J. Socha Builders constructed more than 100 houses there before shifting their focus. Walt realized that apartment houses would provide a steady stream of income instead of a single lump sum, and would appreciate in value for him rather than for his customers.

“He was already finding people were selling his homes and making more money than he did when he built them for them,” Bill said.

The company bought a farm on Van Buren Road, sought the zoning change necessary to build a series of colonial-style apartment buildings called Indian Brook, and was denied permission by the town of Glenville amid vocal resident opposition — some people just thought apartments didn’t belong in town. Walt took the matter all the way to the highest court in the state and won.

“That was a big thing. We were really the first major apartment complex in Glenville,” Bill recalled.

Bill cut grass and trimmed shrubbery at Indian Brook as a teen. He also pumped gas as a part-time high school job and worked briefly in apartment maintenance in Colorado. But after earning college degrees in civil engineering/architecture and business management, he spent his working life with the family business.

“For most of my life I’ve been designing the buildings and then building them, and now maintaining them,” Bill said.

His two siblings, Mike and Lyn, also worked for the family business and have since retired.

In the early 2000s, the company changed its name to Socha Management to reflect the fact that it was no longer building single-family houses.

Socha’s commercial and residential occupancy rates are both running around 95 percent at the start of 2020.

“We’re very happy with those numbers in this very competitive market,” Bill said. “Everybody’s building apartments right now.”

The secret to success in real estate, it has often been noted, is location, and Socha has a good one. But in rental real estate, even in a good location, there needs to be an added level of customer service to retain tenants because they can move away if they aren’t happy.

Socha Management is known for the level of upkeep on its property, Bill says.

Bill Socha inside their Flex Office suites in Socha Plaza in Scotia on Monday, December 23, 2019.

Bill Socha inside their Flex Office suites in Socha Plaza in Scotia on Monday, December 23, 2019.

“We have good customer service. We respond,” he explained.

“Some people come to us [from other apartments where] their maintenance requests go weeks without being taken care of.”

Late last year, he got the kind of feedback he likes to hear from an older couple who’d sold and moved out of their home, and while looking for a new home were living in one of Socha’s corporate apartments — a dozen furnished temporary units for people in just such a housing transition.

“They had an issue and we came and fixed it right away. Then we had that big snowstorm — I was in Florida but I heard about it. Right after that storm they called and said, ‘We’re going to rent, we’re going to be full-time tenants.’ Because they were so impressed with that snow removal.”


For the past five years, Bill and his wife, Shelly, who works in human resources for Socha Management, have not only been employees of the company, they’ve also been tenants. They sold their home in Saratoga Springs around the same time they bought their condo in Florida. Socha Management was completing a mixed-use building with upscale apartments on the top floor at the time, and renting made more sense than buying.

They’ll be moving permanently to Florida in June, but will be back north regularly to visit family.

But will Bill actually retire?

“We’ll see,” he laughed.

“Someone told me ‘You’re never going to retire.’ They used the term ‘redirect.’ And there is some truth to that.

“I’m always busy. I’m always up to stuff.”

Bill will retain his interest in a joint venture, Soeva Hospitality, which owns some commercial space in Florida and owns three restaurants — two in Florida and one in Socha Plaza, the Glass Tavern. But it won’t be at the same level of involvement as being president of Socha Management. Time on the water and golf course will increase, and perhaps also time on the race course in the heavily modified Porsche he owns.

Bill Socha inside their Flex Office suites in Socha Plaza in Scotia on Monday, December 23, 2019.

Bill Socha inside their Flex Office suites in Socha Plaza in Scotia on Monday, December 23, 2019.

“I like to say now I’m 80 percent retired. I’m already stepped back quite a bit. The best way, I think, for Grant and Taylor to be taking over is just to get out of the way.

“They went out and did different things. … I think they had a good feeling they would come back and be with the family business, but both of them wanted to try different things.”

Bill spoke to The Gazette seated in the new flexible office space in Socha Plaza, simply called Flex Office Suites. It’s a variation on co-working space, offering a small suite for a small monthly rent and communal access to the infrastructure that quickly gets expensive in a standalone office. Target tenants include startups, tiny companies and established larger operations that want a new remote location. Socha Management heard enough interest to decide to enter the market.

“This project was sort of my last,” he said. “I played a big role along with my daughter creating this concept and then pulling this together.”

The logo was Taylor’s creation. Its popping-lime green color was Bill’s idea, prompted by a documentary he’d seen years ago on how H&R Block made a huge investment of time and money to design its own green logo.

“We played around with colors,” he said. “I came back to that story. I said, ‘If H&R Block spent millions of dollars, let’s run with it.’ ”

Times Union: For the Socha family, the name is more than a plaza brand

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Socha Management was proud to be featured in a Times Union article to celebrate our 60 year anniversary.


Here is an excerpt from the article.

“Over the past six decades, the Sochas have made their mark in Schenectady, establishing Socha Plaza as a go-to space for restaurants, doctors’ offices and small businesses. The plaza contains four buildings with about 30 tenants in total – including AT&T, Manhattan Bistro & Bagel and State Farm – and, across the street, the company manages Shady Lane Apartments, a group of one- and two-bedroom apartments designed to look like “large, well-kept houses.”


Click here to read the rest of the article.

Socha Plaza Is Proud To Welcome Its Newest Tenants

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Socha Plaza is proud to welcome its newest tenants, Revival Massage Therapy and Care Design.

About Revival Massage Therapy:

Revival is the state of being revived. The rejuvenation and renewal of the mental state, as well as an improvement in the condition or strengthening. Our purpose at Revival Massage Therapy, PLLC, with our services and products we offer we hope to assist in any recovery, restoration. regeneration of muscle cells and tissues. Our goal is to address the wellness needs of our clients with prodigious quality of bodywork and services.

We also do Ultra Light therapy and Ultra Lipomelt Therapy.

About Care Design:

Care Design NY is a tax-exempt LLC Care Coordination Organization (CCO) that was created with the involvement and participation of over 70 agencies with long and successful histories of specializing in the provision of services and supports to children and adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD).   Their mission is to provide a system of care driven by individual, family and provider input to ensure information and resources are available for individuals and their families to live a quality life.   Care Design NY serves approximately 27,000 individuals in 30 New York State counties from Clinton County to Suffolk County on Long Island with corporate headquarters located in Albany, New York.  More than 500 individuals will be supported from the Care Design NY Glenville, NY office location.


Announcing The Pier at Fishermen’s Village

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The Pier reflects future of Fishermen’s Village

Evans and Socha to launch new waterfront restaurant
by Sue Wade

Punta Gorda, Florida – April 24, 2019 – In less than five years Punta Gorda businessman and restaurateur Chris Evans and his partner, New York developer William Socha, have transformed not only the face of Punta Gorda’s Marion Avenue, but also a rural New York community, with their premier restaurants The Blue Turtle, F.M. Don’s (with Chef/Partner Keith Meyer) and The Glass Tavern.

They’ll soon do the same on the water, at Fishermen’s Village. In September 2019, they plan to open The Pier, a fresh new dining destination overlooking the harbor from one of the Village’s southwest buildings facing Punta Gorda Isles. Evans’ grandfather, F. M. “Don” Donelson, who originally developed Fishermen’s Village nearly 50 years ago, would have been especially proud of his grandson’s latest undertaking. “Fishermen’s Village struggled in a state of disrepair for many years of its existence, until the early- 2000s, when it came into its own,” Evans recalled. “Now, the Village’s new owner has a spectacular plan that will modernize my grandfather’s original vision, but maintain that Old Florida, small town feel.” According to Evans, the Village is undergoing a major culture change as its traffic increases. Village owner Jon Larmore with the help of his local and national team including Jeremy Hamilton, plan dramatic new experiences for more visitors and locals than ever. “From what I’ve seen working with them,” said Evans, “Fishermen’s Village will continue to be Punta Gorda’s greatest asset well into the future. Its full potential has yet to be realized. And we feel especially fortunate that they’ve included local businesspeople in their vision for the future.”  The Pier will be a 6,000-square-foot, 300-seat, refreshingly contemporary restaurant which will add a new dining genre to Fishermen’s Village. Seating at The Pier will include a 20-foot sundeck boasting two banks of tables that offer spectacular views of Charlotte Harbor during the day and front-row seats for our awe-inspiring sunsets during the evening. Imagine watching dolphins play while you enjoy your meal! The restaurant will be centered around a modern Pacific Infused interior, draped with wall plantings, a 36-seat sushi and full-service bar will serve guests. There, they can watch sushi being rolled and created. Some of the many options will include their own sticky- or fried-rice bowls with ingredients from ahi tuna to tempura shrimp, crab and fresh salmon. Throughout the restaurant, stepped tiers of booths and tables will provide every guest has a water view, whether they’re seated inside, around the bar or on the waterfront deck.

Well-known local chef Todd Stolpe will orchestrate the kitchen. As executive chef, Stolpe brings 25 years culinary engineering to the job. Always seeking the perfect synergy of setting and cuisine, he’s never written the same menu twice. “We wanted to offer something unlike any other restaurant in town,” said Stolpe. “This is the sort of fresh, new menu that you’d find in Tampa, St. Pete or Miami. We plan to work with seasonal, sustainable ingredients from land and sea, and focus on calorie-light, healthy cuisine.” A first in the local area, Chef Todd’s menu marries Florida food with the traditional flavors and cooking techniques of Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and the Pacific Rim, in dishes as diverse as Kalua Pulled Pork, Kona Short Ribs, Thai Chili Calamari, pot stickers, spring rolls and a full sushi menu. The basics are also there, including starters, salads, sliders, Stolpe’s famous Lobster Mac and Cheese, and such creative twists as Hibachi Diver U10 Scallops with Yukon Gold Mash and Jalapeño Creamed Corn. Evans estimates that The Pier will hire between 45 and 75 full- and part-time employees. Fishermen’s Village General Manager Patti Allen said, “We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to welcome entrepreneur Chris Evans to our family of Fishermen’s Village restaurants. The Pier’s concept captures the forward-thinking, dynamic vision that our owner, Jon Larmore, has for the future of Fishermen’s Village. A seasoned professional, Chris Evans possesses the attitude, resources and commitment to make every project he touches a huge success. And we look forward to the vibrant menu that Chef Todd will bring to our guests and the community of Punta Gorda.”


Zinful Thoughts, Edward Jones Join the Socha Plaza Family

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Socha Management is proud to announce that two new companies are now calling Socha Plaza home!

Zinful Thoughts Wine & Liquor, the area’s finest wine and liquor center, is now open at Socha Plaza 123. The store, which is operated by founder Carrier Peek, offers an outstanding selection of wine and liquor products from regions all over the world.

Zinful Thoughts is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

<a href=””>Learn more about Zinful Thoughts here</a>.

<h2>Edward Jones</h2>

Over at Socha Plaza 115, those looking for some investment advice can now get it from Edward Jones!

One of the nation’s leading financial advising companies, Edward Jones offers a range of financial strategies to help you identify opportunities and build wealth. It also offers one-on-one advice and outstanding customer service to ensure every client gets the attention he or she deserves.

So, if you’re in search of some new investment vehicles, stop on over to the first floor of Socha Plaza 115 next to Albany Med EmUrgentCare and say hello! And when you’re done, take a short walk over to Socha Plaza 123 and find yourself a nice bottle of wine at Zinful Thoughts Wine & Liquor. You’ll be happy you did!

F.M. Don’s Opening

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F.M. Don’s Opening



Hospitality is their middle name
Evans and Socha launch SoEva Hospitality Group

by Sue Wade

Punta Gorda, Florida – June 12, 2017 – Within less than three years, Punta Gorda developer Chris Evans has become pivotal to a larger team that’s changing not only the face of Marion Avenue but also a rural community near Schenectady, New York.

The same mission—hospitality—now energizes three ongoing enterprises in two states.

Said Evans, “Our culture is simple—a genuine desire to meet and exceed the expectations of our guests.”

In October 2014, shortly after he unlocked the long-shut iron gates to The Turtle Club Coastal Tavern and Claw Bar, the place was quickly pronounced Harbor Style magazine’s “Best New Restaurant.”

When New York developer William Socha became a regular there, Evans’s next project followed naturally. He and Socha partnered first at The Turtle Club, then almost immediately began developing a northern twin—The Glass Tavern in Glenville, Schenectady County, New York—which opened in summer 2016.

On May 1, Evans, Socha, and former Trabue Executive Chef Keith Meyer sealed the purchase of the eight-year-old Jack’s on Marion, owned by Bill and Janet Minerich in downtown Punta Gorda’s Sunloft Center since 2012.

Meyer, trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York, with former sous-chef positions at two Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurants, brings expertise in French cooking technique to a kitchen three times Trabue’s size and a restaurant of 260 seats.

“For us,” said Evans, “every restaurant has several keys to success: management, quality, capital, location and, of course, concept.”

The concept for his newest restaurant venture, he said, is historical, honoring his grandfather, F. M. “Don” Donelson, the Fishermen’s Village developer who was as central to the evolution of Punta Gorda nearly 50 years ago as Evans is today.

From its new name—F.M. Don’s—to the classic simplicity of its logo, its interior, and its menu, the establishment embodies old-fashioned authenticity. It’s a place for everyone, where they can find not just impeccably prepared entrees like Meyer’s famous Three Suns Ranch Bison Meatloaf, but also casual bar bites (3 p.m. until close) including short rib sliders and escargot, affordable small plates, and plates for sharing.

Said Meyer, “We want to keep people happy who’ve been coming to Jack’s for years, while injecting unique energy into this growing town.”

To come in the future: a catering division and a banquet space with private bar, for meetings of 50 or more, in Sunloft Center’s Suite 111, to the right of the restaurant on Marion Avenue.

The transition from Jack’s to F.M. Don’s began gradually at first but was realized more rapidly than even its management team had projected. By mid-May, Chef Keith was already acclimating to his new kitchen and soon introduced a new menu, weeks ahead of schedule.

Originally expected to evolve over six to eight months, F.M. Don’s will now see its ribbon cutting by the end of June.

At the same time, Evans and Socha have launched SoEva Hospitality Group, a management-company umbrella for its three different enterprises and more to come.

The F.M. Don’s logo, with a signature message promoting “genuine hospitality” and “classic provisions,” underscores a promise of hospitality that’s shared among all SoEva Hospitality Group venues—including The Turtle Club, Punta Gorda’s “purveyors of hospitality,” and The Glass Tavern’s upstate New York “hometown hospitality.”

As Evans summed it up, “Genuine hospitality is a feeling our guests have while they are at our establishments, and when they leave. That is what we do.”

Also running through all three settings is the vibrant beat of jazz and blues, already heard in F.M. Don’s and live weekly at The Turtle Club, where manager Jim Lawson, former owner of Marion Avenue’s Opus, coordinates special events such as Bourbon & Blues Nights, Wine & Jazz Nights, and Brunch & Blues.

The latest SoEva manager uniting both Turtle Club and F.M. Don’s is Nate McKelvy, formerly general manager at The Captain’s Table in Punta Gorda and Boca Grande’s historic Gasparilla Inn & Club.

Said Evans, “We’re fortunate to be working with the best hospitality professionals as we continue to serve our guests and grow our operations.”


The Glass Tavern Celebrates Grand Opening at Socha Plaza 115

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Friday, May 12 was a big day for The Glass Tavern Restaurant and Socha Plaza 115!

The Capital Region Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Eagan was joined by several prominent lawmakers and businesspeople to celebrate the grand opening for The Glass Tavern Restaurant at Socha Plaza 115.

Co-founded by Socha Management President William J. Socha and Restaurateur Chris Evans, The Glass Tavern delivers a new twist to the Capital Region. With a modern feel and delectable flavors, The Glass Tavern offers the finest – and best-tasting – restaurant experience in the Capital Region.

As a place to bring both your families, and business partners, The Glass Tavern offers a delicious meal and some “hometown hospitality.”

Congratulations to Bill, Chris, and the rest of The Glass Tavern team! The Socha Management team wishes you continued success!

The Glass Tavern Gets Another Rave Review

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The Glass Tavern, co-owned by Bill Socha, has received another fantastic review from the Southern Saratoga Magazine on its cuisine and ambience.

In the review, The Glass Tavern was said to be “a great swanky, personality laced addition to the areas restaurant scene”. The review was the latest in a long line of glowing endorsements from local food critics and patrons who have been impressed with The Glass Tavern’s exquisite food and ambiance.

Contributing writer Nigar Hale of the Southern Saratoga Magazine writes, “We were seated in the Fireplace room, known as the Library, with bookcases going up to the ceiling on the evening of their grand opening celebration. One of many intriguing elements of this restaurant experience includes the slate roof tiles that make up the bar surface,”. “The artisanship alone is worth the trip”.

To continue reading the review, please see the images below.

Southern Saratoga Magazine Review Page 1Southern Saratoga Magazine Review Page 2

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