It took a while, but Albany city officials now have formally acknowledged the successful completion in 2020 of Edgewater Village, a development of 58 homes on the Willamette River that overcame tough challenges during the 17 years since it began.
Developers Paula and George Diamond and their son-in-law, Vasili Rozakis, appeared remotely during a virtual meeting of the Albany Revitalization Agency (ARA) on Wednesday night. City council members, who make up the ARA, expressed their appreciation to the Diamonds for seeing the project through and overcoming big hurdles — the 2008 housing crash and the 2019 Covid outbreak among them.
“What a journey,” ARA Chair Bessie Johnson said. “Thank you!”
A digital presentation traced the project from its beginnings in 2005 through its completion more than a year ago. In 2008 the CARA urban renewal district, the entity governed by the ARA, provided $2.4 million in financial aid toward the development.
The amount included $900,000 toward cleaning up the ruins of the former Inland Quick Freeze fish-processing plant, which had been destroyed by fire. It was on the plant’s 6-acre site that the housing was to be developed.
The CARA aid package was fashioned as a loan, to be forgiven in phases as homes were completed.
The original plan for 146 condos had to be abandoned because there was no market for condos in Albany, at least in that location. Instead, the developers would build 58 houses and townhouses plus one duplex. The 58 units now are occupied, all but three of them by households that rent them.
The duplex had been planned on a site that the Diamonds now think would be better used for something else. “Something for the neighborhood,” as George put it.
The duplex site is part of a large vacant parcel inside the development. The city of Albany owns the remaining one acre of that central parcel, and the council recently held off on a staff proposal to sell the city land for “affordable housing.”
A rendering briefly shown at the meeting proposes to build a parking lot on part of the parcel, which would be handy for customers of the Calapooia Brewing restaurant across Water Avenue as well as for Edgewater itself, where many vehicles now are parked on the street. But nobody went into detail on what to do with the central parcel.
The developers said that through 2021, Edgewater has yielded nearly $927,000 in property taxes, and annual taxes on Edgewater property now total $240,000.
At that rate, CARA’s investment should be repaid in 10 years. (hh)