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.
The Schultz Building at 212 First Ave. S.E. has seen various uses since being built in 1910. Now it may become a restaurant, according to a grant request being considered by the Albany urban renewal district.
Last October, the Albany City Council authorized the city staff to negotiate to buy the former Wells Fargo Bank branch at First Avenue and Broadalbin Street. On Friday, the city closed on the purchase for $1.5 million.
Imagine the plight of a streetscape designer who’s supposed to place a few benches on the newly rebuilt sidewalks of Albany’s downtown. How to position this street furniture so it is inviting and does future bench sitters some good?
CARA is being asked to give $10,000 to another downtown Albany building venture, but the push for major projects to complete and then wind up the 17-year-old urban renewal program seems to remain stalled.
Unless you live there, you probably avoid Albany’s Fifth Avenue east of Lyon Street because of of its rough pavement. Camera in hand, I took a ride there Friday to illustrate just how bumpy the surface is.
George Diamond, the developer of Edgewater Village on the Albany riverfront, would like to step up the pace of construction, but on Wednesday the downtown urban renewal board (CARA) had a lot of questions, qualms and quibbles and seemed reluctant to approve a financing change that he needs to get going.
On the local front, the Albany Carousel is asking for urban renewal money for the third and final time. The request for $339,500 will go before the advisory board of the Central Albany Revitalization Area when it meets at 5:15 Wednesday afternoon at City Hall.