A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Quick sale: Council likes Lepman proposal

Written October 2nd, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The former Wells Fargo lot at 300 West First Ave., and the parking lot in the background, will be sold as one property, the Albany council has decided.

Well, that was quick — the sale, that is, of the former Wells Fargo Bank property in downtown Albany.

Acting as the Albany Revitalization Agency in charge of the CARA urban renewal program, the city council Monday agreed to sell the half-block on First Avenue between Broadalbin and Ferry streets to Scott Lepman for $310,000.

Lepman’s was the only proposal to buy and develop the property. He proposed to buy not just the footprint of the former banking branch but also the branch’s adjacent parking lot, and the council agreed. As the owner of the former St. Francis Hotel across Ferry Street, Lepman already has a long-term lease on parking spaces there.

Lepman showed the council drawings of his project prepared by Don Johnson, a longtime Albany architect.

The proposal is to build a four-story structure on the entire half-block. The building would house several commercial spaces, 20 condomimiums or apartments, and covered secure parking with 47 spaces, 17 of them reserved for the residences planned in the St. Francis across the street.

Council members were pleased with the Lepman proposal. “It’s more than I expected,” Councilwoman Marilyn Smith said. “It looks like a showcase,” said Mayor Alex Johnson II.

Sophie Adams, the economic development manager who does staff work for CARA, said there had been a second proposal, but it was withdrawn. She didn’t identify it.

Before the sale of the property is accomplished, Lepman and the ARA will negotiate a development agreement.

Lepman could not say how long this development will take. But as new construction, he said it should be quicker than his various other projects in Albany, which were to rebuild, renovate or repurpose historic buildings.

This proposed building, called the “Lepman Building” on the drawings, will have to undergo review by the Albany Landmarks Commission because it’s in the downtown historic district. (hh)

For a look at the drawings in the presentation, including views of the proposed building from all four sides and the layout of the four floors, click the link below:

Wells Fargo Site Presentatiom Drawings




12 responses to “Quick sale: Council likes Lepman proposal”

  1. MarK says:

    How many spots for electric vehicle charging (not that I’d ever buy one)? Looks like their losing the ones in the lots that were sold (not that they ever worked).

  2. Anon says:

    Lepman partnered with Linn County to offer 1.5 million for the property with a similar development plan and it was kicked to the curb a few years ago. Now after sitting on the property and expending taxpayer dollars to demolish the building, the city sells it to him for $310,000. Looks like Lepman gets the last laugh.

  3. Cap B. says:

    Wow! Lepman…Albany’s Building Czar! What a surprise! (I’m being sarcastic!)
    He got himself a deal. Got two city blocks for $310,000…the lot where the bank was and the parking lot. City of Albany (CARA) took it in the shorts!! They paid 1-1/2 million for that bank building. Probably the parking lot was included in that, but Albany still took a hit. That doesn’t even include what Albany had to pay for the demolition of the bank building!! (Readers of Hasso’s blog: Be prepared for Ray K. to call me all sorts of names for my comments on this transaction! Just giving you a head’s up in case you like or dislike Ray’s postulating as an expert on all things Albany.)

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “Be prepared for Ray K. to call me all sorts of names for my comments on this transaction!”

      Nahh… You’re doing just fine doing it to yourself…

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    So that’s about $200k for each City Council Member that property has cost us?

  5. CHEZZ says:

    The Lepman group did get a deal. Best part – Lepman is constructing/rehabbing buildings and pays attention to historical detail. YAY Mr. Lepman – and Mr. Obie! I think I’ll be moving Downtown!!

  6. Brandon Rodriguez says:

    This is exciting! I am excited to see this come to fruition.

  7. Anony Mouse (they-them) says:

    “Showcase” is a euphemism for gentrification.

    The objective is to create an influx of affluent residents and businesses that make downtown more refined, polite, and respectable. And expensive.

    Throw in APD’s mobile cameras on a stick to monitor any unwelcome riffraff.

    Don’t like it? Pffft…move to Lebanon.

  8. hj.anony1 says:

    Lebanon? Nah!
    been there, done that!

    What lepman needs to do is gauge the fill in there!
    Can one build on it?

  9. Kristin. Roisen says:

    I hope it looks retro not some ugly concrete mess

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Send me an email and I’ll send you the Lepman proposal… ( raykop at aol dot com )


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