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Adams, the economic development manager who does staff work for CARA, said there had been a second proposal, but it was withdrawn.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: