Whether anything comes of this is uncertain, but Albany’s downtown urban development board last week heard about an idea for turning a vacant store into shared office space and a couple of meeting rooms.
Matt Wallace, the owner of 223 Second Ave. S.W., pitched his concept to the monthly meeting of the Central Albany Revitalization Area Advisory Board in advance of possibly making a request for a CARA grant or low-interest loan. (If an amount was mentioned, I didn’t hear it, and no request has been made.)
What he has in mind is a place where small companies or start-ups could rent a desk. Utilities and support services like copiers would be included in the rent. Two meeting rooms in the back, holding up to 25 people each, could be used by the tenants or be made available to public agencies. If a tenant company expands, it wouldn’t have to move but could just rent another desk.
A few members of the CARA board voiced support for the idea, or at least seemed intrigued. You can hear what they said by listening to the meeting here.
The building has 9,850 square feet. There’s a basement and a small mezzanine besides the main floor. Most recently it was a fish store. About 40 years ago it was Vince Barrett’s Sporting Goods. (No it wasn’t. Please see the comments and the correction below.)
Whether Wallace’s idea fits in with the goal of revitalizing downtown Albany is something the board will have to decide if and when there’s a formal request for CARA to get involved. (hh)