A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Quite a transformation on Santiam Road

Written December 27th, 2014 by Hasso Hering

dec 23 001

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)

The place looked like this when the work started.

The place looked like this when the work started.

5 responses to “Quite a transformation on Santiam Road”

  1. tom cordier says:

    Congratulations to Baldwin, thanks for investing in Albany commercial property.
    Their business dispels the CARA lie that government funding is required to get business people to invest here. Was the Chamber involved in any aspect of this good news??

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      That’s hilarious Tom! CARA has never badgered anyone to try and access their funding processes. Definite kudos to Baldwin for not needing the extra help that sometimes CARA can give to some property owners.

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    It APPEARS they almost triple the value of the property without CARA.
    What’s the average appreciation on CARA funded projects?

  3. tom cordier says:

    Ray’s response makes no sense. I did not opine that CARA ever sought to “badger anyone to access their funding processes”.
    Let me clarify for you Ray–the lie told repeatedly by Albany’s CARA spenders –is that private businesses will not invest in Albany commercial properties so the taxpayers must do that to attract investment. Baldwin Construction business model proved CARA’s basic premise to be false.

  4. Jim Engel says:

    Let me understand this. The City turned down an application for a can recycling business on this very site. Reason given was too much added traffic on Santiam. So a office building is going in along with an enlarged parking lot. Tell me that’s not going to add to traffic on Santiam??!! JE


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