The former St. Francis Hotel, a downtown landmark for more than a century, was mentioned twice at last week’s meeting of the Albany Revitalization Agency. That’s the city council when it acts as the agency governing CARA, the Central Albany Revitalization Area.
A team of consultants led by Walker Macy, a Portland firm, now has the approval of Albany’s urban renewal agency to gather public opinion and then make plans for redeveloping the city’s Willamette Riverfront.
Albany may spend up to $20 million in urban renewal funds to redevelop its Willamette riverfront, including 14 blocks of Water Avenue from Washington Street to Main, but the potential price tag is getting some pushback from at least two members of the city council.
The city of Albany’s urban renewal agency is buying a building within its district without saying publicly which one. But it’s not the Eagles club at Broadalbin Street and Water Avenue, which is no longer for sale.
For Albany’s downtown urban renewal program known as CARA, the focus now is on launching and completing a redevelopment of the riverfront along Water Avenue, finishing some remaining projects, and then going out of business, possibly by 2025.
Albany’s urban renewal agency continues to be shy about naming the parties that offered to acquire the former Wells Fargo branch in the heart of downtown. But it plans to decide on selling the building to one of them the next time the CARA advisory board meets, which is June 19.