HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

City wants to raze old Wells Fargo branch

Written September 19th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

The wide-angle lens makes the old Wells Fargo branch look kind of superangular in this view taken on Sept. 19, 2022.

Maybe it’s not too early to start thinking about what will take its place when and if the former Wells Fargo Bank branch downtown is razed.

Acting as the Albany Revitalization Agency, the city council last month voted to invite bids to demolish the vacant building.

So far, the invitation to bidders has not been posted, but the city staff expects this to be done in the next month and a half.

The structure is what remains of the five-story office building constructed in about 1915 for the First National Bank. The top floors were lopped off in 1974.

Wells Fargo closed the branch in 2018, and the ARA bought the property including the adjacent parking lot in 2019 for $1.5 million, hoping to attract a private concern to redevelop the building.

Those redevelopment hopes fizzled.

In 2012, a downtown “retail refinement” plan commissioned by the city concluded that the Wells Fargo property would be a good place for a central open plaza.

The council has not discussed what to do with the property if and when the building is demolished. The advisory board of the Central Albany Revitalization District has not considered the question either.

Part of the Wells Fargo parking lot will be needed to provide parking slots for the tenants or guests of the St. Francis Hotel across Ferry Street once that old building is restored and remodeled.

Maybe the rest of the site will become parking too, especially if there’s any large-scale redevelopment of city parking lots along Water Avenue one block to the north.

It will be up to the council (ARA) to act on the demolition bids once they are received. Unless, that is, they change their minds and discover that the building might have some beneficial use after all. (hh)

These benches outside the vacant branch on Broadalbin Street may one day overlook a parking lot.





9 responses to “City wants to raze old Wells Fargo branch”

  1. MarK says:

    It’s amazing how the council is SO inept when it comes to real estate. You’d think they would have learned by now.

  2. Tony Yo says:

    Tear it down, 1970s eyesore building. While they’re at it, get rid of the 1960s Russian block house with the parole offices. Make them move out by the jail.

  3. centrist says:

    Well, it’s a bug uttly thing. Clear space is a vast improvement.

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    And Wells Fargo is laughing their butts off! Well played WF!

  5. Anon says:

    Should have accepted the Counties offer

  6. Ann Saint says:

    Councel fiduciary buffoonery never fails to disappoint when it comes to managing money and real estate. What say you?

  7. Rich Kellum says:

    Last I heard, the County would purchase the building for the original asking price, I was told, oh no no no, our way is better, well, I do not hate to say I TOLD YOU SO…. this just keeps getting dumber and dumber.

 

 
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