Why this Seattle software developer bought a historic house near Albany

By  –  Reporter, Albany Business Review

Steven Anderson drove his new RV for the first time this month from Seattle to Albany.

He, along with his wife and two large dogs, came to settle into their new house, the renovated 1837 VanDerZee Farm in Coeymans that they purchased this spring. When they first visited the house earlier this year, it was the first time his wife had seen snow.

The couple plan to split their time between the two cities so that Anderson can have a presence at his first office in Seattle and the new office he’s establishing here.

Anderson is the owner of Seattle-based Sirrus7, a custom software developer he says is contracted primarily by Fortune 500 companies. The company, which mainly develops websites and apps, also has a small satellite office in Arkansas.

Sirrus7 laid out growth plans late last year for the new operations in Albany, but it turns out they weren’t as optimistic as they could have been.

“For every goal that we’ve set by the end of 2022, we’ve beaten already,” Anderson said, adding that covers goals for customer acquisition, revenue growth, partner growth and team size. “Now we’re starting to eat into our 2023 growth arc. We’re going to change our 2023 expectations, actually. We’re going to up them a little bit.”

Overall, the company has nearly 30 employees. He could hire six right now for Albany and could reach 25-30 employees by the end of the year, he said.

Anderson said his requirements when hunting for new office were that the location be near colleges developing talent and that it have easy access to a metro area for new clients. His wife made the location decision from there.

The couple’s first location choice for a house was Delhi, in Delaware County on the western edge of the Catskills, because of the SUNY college there, but they gave up because of the tight housing market, he said. Instead, they turned their focus toward the Capital Region.

“The house that we bought here would have been four to six times more than the area where we live on the West Coast,” Anderson said.

With the proximity to economic centers like Albany and New York City, he sees potential to grow the client base here.

“We do have a couple that are located more on the East Coast. We would love to get more that are located in Albany and New York,” he said.

He plans to pay new hires in Albany the same as they would be paid in Seattle. That’s part of his overall goal to improve access to this type of company for local workers and clients, he said.

“If you have a bunch of people paid like that who are living in these smaller areas where that money goes very, very far – and they’re spending it there – then you’re building an economic base. And that’s very important to me to be able to do that,” Anderson said.

The couple’s new 8-acre property has the farmhouse, two barns, a swimming pool and a creek that runs through.

He is converting the two barns into coworking spaces that employees and trainees would be able to use. The company has a virtual office membership with the Bull Moose Club coworking space in downtown Albany.

Anderson says his goal in choosing a small town is to prop up the economy there, not spur the type of gentrification for which business owners from big cities can sometimes get a bad reputation.

“That’s not what this is about. It’s really about embracing what’s there and giving it back its independence, giving back self sufficiency,” Anderson said. “That’s why I’m building the coworking space here, because it’s towns like this that need the help.”