The city of Albany has finally made public its plan for the old St. Francis hotel building downtown. The plan is to buy the building from the printing company that owns it, and sell it to Marc Manley, who with his wife Anni owns and restored the Flinn Block farther east on First Avenue.
As Albany embarks on redesigning its Willamette riverfront, an evening bike ride along Water Avenue last week reminded me that a significant element of redevelopment had taken place nearly 10 years ago.
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.