A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

City’s vacant lot still looking for a use

Written August 17th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

The vacant land at Edgewater Village, whose developers would like to buy the city-owned portion of it.

The developers of Edgewater Village on the Willamette River have once again told the Albany City Council they would like to buy the city-owned parcel in the middle of the 58-dwelling development.

George Diamond and his son-in-law, Vasili Rozakis, made that point as they appeared remotely during a council meeting on Aug. 8. They didn’t mention a price.

They had told the council they were interested in March, but the council didn’t react then. Edgewater Village already owns about 3,500 square feet at the corner of the vacant land, at Front Avenue and Hill Street.

Last January, the city staff proposed that the city-owned parcel of nearly one acre be declared surplus and that developers be invited to propose housing there, including “affordable housing.”

The council put off discussion of what to do with the land in January and has not taken up the issue since. At the Aug. 8 work session, there was talk that a discussion might be held at another work session soon.

The parcel used to belong to the Burlington Northern, whose Water Avenue track it borders. Albany persuaded the railroad to give the land to the city for nothing as part of the city renewing a franchise covering the portion of the rail line that runs in the middle of the street. The lot’s ownership changed in January 2014, taking it off the taxable rolls.

The Linn County assessor says the parcel has a real market value of $181,610.

Diamond said Edgewater would consider buying just half of the land and wants to build housing on it, leaving the other half in city ownership for development of a parking lot.

The off-street parking would be helpful to customers of the Calapooia Bewery restaurant across Water Avenue. It might also be useful for commercial development, if any, at the southeast corner of Hill Street and Water Avenue.

The council has sat on this vacant lot for eight years. Seems that for deciding what to do with it, that’s long enough. (hh)

9 responses to “City’s vacant lot still looking for a use”

  1. Grace says:

    It appears that affordable housing is not a very high priority for the council.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      3 very key questions with no easy answers:
      Please define:
      1. What is “affordable?”
      2. How do you pay for it?
      3. Who pays for it?

  2. centrist says:

    Consider that this isn’t a “prime ” location. Would placing “affordable housing” there follow an unspoken practice? We no longer clearly practice red-lining, but …

  3. Hartman says:

    Just 8 years in the decision-making process. Relax. What’s the rush?

  4. Ginny Jordan says:

    Affordable housing in Albany? There is nothing affordable in Albany Oregon or anywhere else in Oregon. It is no wonder there are so many people who have found themselves homeless. Shame on the council, planners and everyone who is involved in the degradation of our beautiful Albany!

  5. CHEZZ says:

    It would be a nice green space for the owners of the property to maintain and add benches and a few trees for their development.

  6. sonamata says:

    Great to hear the financial woes he claimed to get mods & extensions on $2.4M in CARA funding for Edgewatet have been resolved. Since he & his family own the majority of units, I’m guessing the rental income flow has really helped. Why sell them when you can rent them for $1650+/mo?

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Edgewater was developed by an affluent developer for the affluent market.

      Subsidizing affluent folks isn’t the highest and best use of $2,400,000 of public money, contrary to some on the council who consider this a good “investment” of taxpayer money.

      Tax revenue talks, affordable housing walks.

      Why serve the affluent when the need is less than affluent?

  7. Mike quinn says:

    I’ve told council, mayor, and city manager, that my company would buy the property and put 1 bedroom duplexes there , with our affordable housing task force that I sit on, it’s been identified by the city for the need of 617 units of single bedroom units , but I really think they don’t want this, or they would have sold the property, so even though I don’t want to sound like the bearers of bad news but I think affordability is long gone, sorry


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