A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Sale pending of downtown landmark

Written January 13th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

The gable on the platform side of the historic Oregon Electric Railway depot on Fifth Avenue looked like this on Dec. 4, 2021.

A downtown Albany landmark, the historic Oregon Electric Railway depot, will change hands if a pending sale goes through as intended. But there’s no word yet on how the building will be used after it is sold.

The outside of the old depot at 133 Fifth Ave. S.E. has changed little since it was built in 1912, when the Oregon Electric line from Portland reached Albany before being extended later to Eugene. On the street in front, the rails have been paved over, but sections are visible where the pavement has crumbled.

For many years the building housed Ciddici’s Pizza. The business closed last March because of an eviction order that resulted from a lawsuit over unpaid rent.

The building has been owned by T&H Investment LLC, of which Tariq “Tim” Siddiqui and his brother Hamid were the owners, and which Tim managed. T&H filed the suit over rent against Chanda Corporation, managed by Hamid and doing business as Ciddici’s Pizza.

Via Facebook messaging, Tim sent word in December that he had settled with Hamid. “Now he owns it lock stock and barrel,” Tim wrote. “This took place Nov. 30th, as a result of mediation.”

Hamid Siddiqui continues to operate the Ciddici’s Pizza branch in South Albany, on Belmont Street.

The OE depot downtown then was put up for sale. Jessica Pankratz, an agent with Town & Country Real Estate, confirmed that a sale was pending and may close in a couple of months, but she was not at liberty to divulge details.

During my days of working at the nearby Democrat-Herald office and later, this building was the site of many pizza parties and other get-togethers. It would be nice if the prospective new owners, whoever they are, intend to buy the place for a restaurant or some other public use. (hh)

At the corner of Fifth Avenue and Lyon Street on Jan. 12: “Sale Pending”



12 responses to “Sale pending of downtown landmark”

  1. Bill Maddy says:

    Hasso, I heard through the rumor mill that the new owners are the Bennetts of Sybaris Restaurant. I hope the rumor is true and the OER station building will finally have a truly nice restaurant.

  2. centrist says:

    Bought ONE pizza there.
    Curry and canned mushrooms didn’t cut it. There’s a flavor-set to pizza rhat rejects rhat set. Never went back

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Should have specified fresh mushrooms. They always asked which you preferred, canned or fresh.

      • Tim Siddiqui says:

        Thanks Hasso.
        Canned mushrooms has never been an issue of quality or price, not for the fifty years that I been cooking pizzas. I order canned mushrooms on my pizza.
        “ Unless you wish to, most pizza vegetables don’t need to be pre-cooked before being added to the pizza. Once the pizza is baked, the degree of doneness is determined mainly by the size of the pieces.
        Mushrooms fall somewhere in the middle. Because of their high water content, most of the common mushrooms we use must be pre-cooked to maintain a decent texture and flavor without saturating your pizza.”
        As far as the comment about curry it is not about the pizza, it about the centrist himself.

  3. Suebee says:

    I’ve always loved this building’s architecture, and happy to hear it has hope for some much needed revitalization….it was sad seeing it not being maintained by the previous owners, and I foresee it being a potential gem to downtown!

  4. Ted says:

    For years some of the best Pizza and Chicken in the Valley (personal opinion, not looking for arguments there). Then the long time owner sold the business … and the quality started going down the tubes. Still a very interesting building with more history attached than a lot of other “historic” Albany sites.

  5. Kathryn Burt says:

    My mother-in-law. recalled being the 1st class to obtain permission from the board of trustees at Albany College to hold a dance there! That was quite a “racy” thing for those Presbyterians to do in 1935. I wish the Bennetts well! It is worth it to showcase our local history.

  6. Hasso Hering says:

    Following up on comments above, I talked with Chef Matt Bennett of Sybaris Restaurant. He did not deny that he’s buying the building but at this time was not at liberty to confirm it either. What that means to me is that there is still some uncertainty about this. I told him that if he and his wife do move their world-class restaurant there, it would be a huge step forward for downtown Albany and the community as a whole. (hh)

    • Sharon Konopa says:

      YIPPPEEEE! Great news!

    • Dick Olsen says:

      Thank you Hasso for informing us of this excellent project. Not only will it provide much needed maintenance for the historic building, but, it will be an outstanding location for our nationally famous restauranteurs the Bennetts. I only wish that our CARA urban renewal project could offer some sort of financial assistance to make it more feasible. But no, our present ARA (City Council) has bowed to managerial demands that all CARA moneys be dumped on the Water St. Monteith park project. Not only present moneys, but any moneys that might arrive in the future.

      The Water St. project was estimated to cost $20,000,000.00. Management insisted and the CARA committee agreed that consultants Walker/Macy be retained to engineer and manage this project. Their fee was agreed to be $2,359,746.00 and no more. This seemed excessive to me. However, they seem to have spent it all and are now back saying they need another $620,433.00 to get started. City staff says this is reasonable and that they may need an additional $3,000,000.00 to $4,000,000.00 before they are done. You can find this in the ARA agenda for our next Wednesday’s ARA meeting. The lay members of the CARA committee are again being excluded from this meeting as are the public in general. I continue to complain about this lack of transparency insisted on by our city staff.

      We are being eaten alive by consultants and this Waterfront vanity project. I am sick at heart that we can no longer help with much needed CARA projects such as this, the Cumberland Church Community Center project, some sort of shelter for the homeless, etc.

  7. Lundy says:

    Across 25 years at the Democrat-Herald, my top three eateries were Hasty Freez, the Pepper Tree Sausage House and Ciddici’s. I ate at all three regularly and estimate that I dined on Hasty Freez fare an average of once a week for two and a half decades.


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