A question was circulating among people with their eyes open in downtown Albany over the last few days: What’s with all those numbers in the windows of the former St. Francis Hotel?
“I wondered when someone would ask.” That was the reaction of Candace Ribera when I put the question to her in an email. She’s the development coordinator for the Scott Lepman Company.
A limited-liability company affiliated with Lepman has owned the historic building since March 2022. With some help from CARA, the central Albany urban renewal program, the company has committed itself to rehabilitating the 108-year-old structure.
Among the uncounted tasks ahead of the Lepman crew is the job of restoring or repairing all the single-pane windows and their wood frames and sashes.
And here is Ribera’s explanation of the numbers: “The windows are numbered for identification for what repair is necessary for that particular window. We tried doing it from the inside of the building but it was hard to identify the specific window from the outside with the small numbers placed on the inside. Numbers were enlarged and then pictures were taken from the outside with a drone.”
The numbers go up to No. 113, but four more could not be reached for the numbering, Ribera said. So there are 117 windows. All the ones I saw have six panes each, so you can see the magnitude of the forthcoming repairs.
Refurbishing the St. Francis — with commercial space below and residences above — is going to take several years. Starting last fall, the Lepman crew removed asbestos and has done other work inside the building.
The numbers on the windows are a welcome outward sign that work on the restoration is under way. (hh)