A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Edgewater Village: CARA hesitates

Written January 18th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

On Jan. 16, construction work continues on house No. 11 in Edgewater Village.

George Diamond, the developer of Edgewater Village on the Albany riverfront, would like to step up the pace of construction, but on Wednesday the downtown urban renewal board (CARA) had a lot of questions, qualms and quibbles and seemed reluctant to approve a financing change that he needs to get going.

The Diamonds, George and his wife Paula, have personally guaranteed a $2.4 million forgivable loan from CARA that, years ago, helped launch what the city envisioned as a way to revive what had been a dead zone of trash, weeds and rubble east of the Lafayette Street trestle, between Water Avenue and the riverfront Dave Clark Path.

The development plan was delayed and changed several times as a result of the great recession and other factors, including the wishes of CARA officials.  In one of the latest iterations, there were to be 60 homes including 28 townhouses, with $40,000 of the loan to be forgiven for each completed unit. So far, $360,000 has been forgiven and another $80,000 is pending.

Of the 10 houses completed (the 11th is being finished now), none has been sold, but several have been rented. Diamond said he’s content to rent them to good tenants, as he has done, and wait until the market improves to sell them at a price that won’t have him losing money on each sale.

The Diamonds now want to be able to borrow enough money from a bank to complete all the remaining street and utility improvements for the development and also build, all at once rather than piecemeal, the 28 townhouses on the west side of the tract, closest to the railroad trestle. To do that, they need the Albany development agency to raise its $1 million loan subordination limit to $6 million. (If you want to know exactly what that means, ask a bank or real estate loan expert.) They would also like the city to participate in the cost of building streets on two sides of a city-owned parcel in the middle of the development.

CARA board members talked about this for more than an hour Wednesday. At one point Diamond said that if the city would release him from its contract, he would gladly walk away and let somebody else deal with this project. In the end, the board rejected a motion on the loan subordination but then, as far as I could understand all the mumblings, the board’s 14 members seemed to agree to have the city staff write up an agreement with Diamond that would then be put to a vote at a subsequent meeting.

This issue has been pending since last October. The CARA board, in no great hurry to complete the urban renewal mission set in 2001, meets only once a month, and it skipped December. Now it’s going to take at least another month before the immediate future of Edgewater Village is resolved. (hh)

13 responses to “Edgewater Village: CARA hesitates”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    And for the rest of us, a contract is a contract.

  2. Al Sims says:

    Once again, the rich get richer off the backs of taxpayers. CARA is a total ripoff and should be shut down.
    The way I understand it though, as long as they have a contract with someone for a “forgivable loan” they can’t be shut down. Good incentive to keep giving our money to the rich who can work the system.

  3. Sherry Leighton says:

    Wow!!! I do have to agree “piece meal” is not a good idea! When I have driven through that area I was disappointed. It does not look inviting. It looks as if the builders aren’t that interested in making it a lovely environment!! It could be “really special” as it is close to the river and downtown!

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    CARA should have hesitated years ago to stop this $2.4M fiasco with the Lake Oswego developer. But the desire to spend other people’s money was just too intoxicating.

    Back then I made a bet with Councilor Ray K that this project would fail. I’m still waiting for him to pay up….

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Since multiple homes have already been built & sold, many more in mid-building to completion… You already lost the bet..

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Did Hasso get it wrong? According to his post none of the houses have sold. That makes it a failure to everyone, except CARA apologists and board members.

        It’s been so long ago, I can’t remember how much we wagered. But I still claim victory. I’ll look you up the next time I visit Albany.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          More than once, George stated that he personally bought the currently completed homes and now has good renters in them. He said he did that so that he will still realize a profit on them a year or two from now.

          Your bet was there would never be a single home completed. I took that bet. You already weaseled on it…

  5. Tony White says:

    Just another couple of welfare-suckers. If it’s not career welfare families it seems to be corporate welfare; and now here’s another category: “investment” welfare grabbers. Shut CARA down. Have you looked at your property tax bill lately? Maybe it’s time to do it.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “Shut CARA down. Have you looked at your property tax bill lately? Maybe it’s time to do it.”

      There you go again. Your total property tax bill is exactly the same with or without CARA.

  6. John Hartman says:

    It seems tha CARA failed to analyze the market before sinking tax dollars into this development.

    If you believe what the developer is creating is a set of Starter Homes, a bit smaller and perhaps more affordable…well the prices for the homes built thus far are far too high and even a small family would find it difficult in the square footage. And one-car garages in a community where Mass Transit is nearly non-existent? It just seems out of step.

    If you believe the developer is building homes that would allow someone to down-size, the two-story configuration is all wrong, particularly for older buyers. It is unclear what the market is. Perhaps the developer knows something about home buyers I do not. Perhaps CARA was seduced by the thought of river front development…a nice idea, but filled with plenty of risk.

    Perhaps the market will turn. Or, what seems more likely, the demand for affordable housing continues to go unanswered even as CARA may be forced to sink more dollars
    Into this project. It might end up okay, but the financial fallout will be substantial.

  7. centrist says:

    Things to consider
    Does Diamond have the interest and resources to ride out the market until he can exit with a profit
    How probable is it for Diamond to default and walk away
    Is it economically profitable for CARA to add funding to complete the project (with Diamond or a successor)

  8. ean says:

    waiting for the market to get better? Kind of seems like that could be a long wait.

  9. hj.anony1 says:


    That’s not directed towards any commenters & thoughts above. Simply to get your attention. (a quick study of the president)

    Looking at a realty site, I see 50/50 split in the Downtown/N.Albany listings where half are under contract. Hardly a real estate recession. More interesting is that none of Diamond’s homes show up on the mls database. Looks to be more than content to rent.


HH Today: A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley
Albany Albany Carousel Albany City Council Albany council Albany downtown Albany Fire Department Albany housing Albany parks Albany Planning Commission Albany police Albany Post Office Albany Public Works Albany riverfront Albany Station Albany streets Albany traffic Albany urban renewal Andy Olson Benton County Benton County parks bicycling bike lanes Bowman Park Bryant Park Calapooia River CARA City of Albany climate change coronavirus COVID-19 Cox Creek path Crocker Lane cumberland church cycling Dave Clark Path DEQ downtown Albany Edgewater Village global warming gun control Highway 20 Interstate 5 Kitzhaber Linn County marijuana medical marijuana Millersburg North Albany Road Obama ODOT Oregon coast Oregon legislature Oregon passenger rail Pacific Power Portland & Western Republic Services Riverside Drive Santiam Canal Talking Water Gardens The Banks Tom Cordier Union Pacific urban renewal Water Avenue Willamette River

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Hasso Hering.
Website Serviced by Santiam Communications
Hasso Hering