There was no debate or discussion when the Albany Revitalization Agency gave final approval Wednesday to a $126,000 loan to help Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant relocate downtown. The agency — actually the city council by another name — had excellent reasons to approve the request, which it had endorsed as part of the Central Albany Revitalization Area (CARA) advisory committee last month.
For business reasons the Novaks plan to relocate their restaurant from the Heritage Plaza on 14th Avenue to 208 Second Ave. S.W., a smaller building dating from 1898 they intend to restore.
Among the good reasons for the urban renewal loan: The planned $627,000 reconstruction of the old building will enhance that block of Second Avenue and result in a likely increase in property tax revenue. It will allow a renowned business not only to continue but to keep drawing paying visitors from out of town. The place will be open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, adding some life to Sundays downtown and vitality to a street CARA has mostly neglected so far.
And finally, it’s a loan to working people, a public investment that will be repaid, not a giveaway to developers who have plenty of money of their own. (hh)