The old roadside sign was still there just before Christmas, but otherwise this Albany address, 1224 Santiam Road S.E., no longer looked at all like the run-down and vacant former Salvation Army thrift store. Baldwin General Contracting Inc. has been reconstructing the building to use as its offices, and the transformation looks just about complete, at least on the outside.
As company owner Yohn Baldwin told me in September, when I first reported on this project, it had taken some time to resolve various zoning and site issues. He bought the property for $350,000 and expected he reconstruction work to cost around $610,000 more.
Unlike other downtown building restorations in recent years, this one is being accomplished entirely with private funds. The Central Albany Revitalization Area, the urban renewal district known as CARA, is not involved.
As an office building, the remodeled structure is allowed in the Main Street zoning district, which includes this property. Previously the city council had turned down a code-change request that would have allowed conversion of the building, which had been closed for years, into a bottle and can redemption center. City planning officials said at the time they would try to find the recycling cooperative another Albany location, but nothing has happened on that front, and Albany remains without a central redemption center.
As for Baldwin Construction, as of last fall the company employed about two dozen in its offices, then nearby at 422 Cleveland St. S.E., and more than 50 craft workers at its various construction sites. (hh)