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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Flying High at The Hangar at 743

How entrepreneur David Prescott transformed his former office space at Albany airport into the hottest party venue in the Capital Region.

David Prescott has always loved planes—so much so that he not only became a pilot, but when he started his own electronics company, he eventually moved his corporate headquarters to an office at the airport. And when he sold his company, Integra Optics, Inc, in June 2019, he wasted no time setting up a life for himself that revolved around planes.

Along the way, he learned that his beautifully refinished airplane hangar at Albany International Airport—which he had used for a few corporate events and fundraisers while still at the helm of Integra—could pop off as a hot party venue. 

David Prescott, photographed by Hannah Kuznia/Hannah Lux Photography

“I’ve always had a passion for aviation,” says Prescott, a former Navy nuclear engineer who started flying in 1999. “So I’ve actually been here at the airport for almost 20 years—I was based in a building next door, and when my electronics company needed to expand, this hangar became available and I took over this building as well. I refinished the hangar in 2016, and then when I sold the company I retained the facility. I met with a few people and realized that this was going to be an amazing venue.”

The only caveat: It would take an enormous amount of patience. He got going in June 2019, naming the 8,000-square-foot events facility The Hangar at 743, packing it with all of the amenities of a first-rate party venue, and meeting with hospitality insiders—a months-long preparation that got him ready to start hosting parties just in time for a certain world-wide pandemic. “It was a slow start,” he says. “We started off doing a few weddings and smaller events, and then it grew from there.”

Just a few short years later, Prescott runs the thriving Hangar at 743 event space, his Prescott Foundation nonprofit that repairs and restores vintage aircraft, and the Warbird Factory that restores World War II aircraft and services general aviation aircraft. The three work seamlessly together to create a unique environment for parties. World War II–era planes—think of a TBM avenger torpedo bomber or Vought F4U Corsair fighter plane—serve as epic décor, complementing the space’s romantic white lights and accents made from authentic airplane parts that create a “sky’s the limit” party vibe. When the weather is nice enough to open the 35-foot-high hangar door, parties open almost onto an operational runway—so close that TSA security is required. “Be prepared,” Prescott says, “for travelers from Delta, Southwest and JetBlue to all be waving when they go by.”

A fashion show hosted at The Hangar, photographed by Joe Putrock

The Hangar at 743 has proven popular with brides who are over the barn wedding trend and want something unique. “Some people are sick and tired of parking in the muddy grass and walking in high heels in soft dirt and grass,” Prescott says. “It’s refreshing to get married at a venue that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else.”

In addition to weddings and galas, The Hangar has hosted CRL‘s beloved Bestie Fest (<—see pics) awards ceremony for the past two years, a recent fashion show fundraiser that brought a different kind of runway to the space, and RPI’s annual commissioning ceremony for new Naval and Marine Corps officers. “I really like proms, and last year a student with a pilot’s license flew into his own prom,” Prescott says. “We’re the only venue in the Capital Region where somebody can be dropped off via aircraft right at the venue. You can get on a plane in New Jersey and step off into your party in New York. We had one event where we had a larger eight-passenger plane, and we auctioned off seats for rides down to New York City, around the Statue of Liberty and back. It’s a 20-minute flight down and a 20-minute flight back, so there’s plenty of time to do it during an event.”

Capital Region Living‘s 2024 Bestie Fest, photographed by T.R. Laz

Now that Prescott and his hangar have conquered the Capital Region, he’s expanding his horizons. The commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation—which oversees all aviation facilities statewide—herself booked an award ceremony upon learning that the space existed. “She had no idea there was such an amazing space in New York State,” Prescott says. “It’s perfect for events [like hers] that have people traveling in from outside the area, because being right at the airport, we’re very close to a lot of hotels, and they all have shuttles.”

Planning a wedding? If you have friends and family flying in, The Hangar might just be your most convenient—and breathtaking—bet.        

Abby Tegnelia
Abby Tegnelia
Abby Tegnelia is the chief executive officer of Capital Region Living and Saratoga Living. She previously worked at New York magazine, Glamour and Us Weekly, and has contributed to Marie Claire, Women's Wear Daily and Maxim.

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