A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Who wants the former Wells Fargo lot?

Written September 19th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The former Wells Fargo lot on Sept. 15, one day after the posted deadline for any purchase offers.

It would be interesting to know who has made offers to buy and develop the lot at 300 West First Ave. in Albany, the site of the former and now demolished downtown branch of Wells Fargo Bank.

The city’s urban renewal program, CARA, had posted Sept. 14, 2023, last Thursday, as the deadline for making offers. After the deadline passed, I asked how many offers had been received.

“I can share that we have received proposals and that we are extending the deadline until end of day September 24,” Sophie Adams told me Monday. She is the city’s acting economic development manager handling the CARA administration.

Proposals, plural? I asked again how many. But as of Tuesday night I heard nothing more.

The other question is: If more than one proposal has already been received and the posted deadline is over, why set a new deadline, on a Sunday no less? The most plausible answer is that the city staff didn’t consider the submitted offers good enough and was hoping for something better.

Acting as the Albany Revitalization Agency, CARA’s governing board, the city council is scheduled to consider any offers for the property on Oct. 2, and if necessary again on Oct. 4.

Most likely the discussion will be held in an executive session closed to the public. But we’ll see.

(The council decided to negotiate to buy the building in a closed session in October 2018, eventually paying $1.5 million. But then CARA publicly heard three competing offers to redevelop the former bank, none of which worked out.)

If there are competing offers and development proposals for the empty lot, you would have expected them to be reviewed by the CARA Advisory Board. But the advisory board has not met since June 2022, and it’s not scheduled to meet in this case. (hh)

10 responses to “Who wants the former Wells Fargo lot?”

  1. TLH-ALB 1 says:

    Marvin’s Garden II
    What a great idea…. ;-)

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      I think Marvin’s Garden II will be the old school bus lot that the city is purchasing in its infinite real estate wisdom. Apparently they feel if they keep trying, they might not screw up as bad as usual.

      You’ll have to go for Marvin’s Garden III

  2. Cap B. says:

    Thanks, Hasso, for the update. According to a source, which I will not name, the CARA Advisory Board does not get scheduled by the CARA Board to meet because the Council (The City Council being also CARA Board) knows that all people on the Advisory Board will not just rubber stamp whatever the City Council/CARA Board members want to do.

    • RICH KELLUM says:

      Wrong Cap, it is the ARA board (City Council members)that is in charge, the Cara board has no power, zero, their job is to advise the ARA board, so in the absence of a need to determine whether or not there is something that is needed for the community, the ARA board makes the call.

      • Cap B. says:

        That is what I said…that is, that the City Council is in charge of CARA and they are CARA!! The City Council (who are ARA also) is in charge. The Advisory board (or some board known by some *%$#$! initials) has a couple of additional people on it who are not always in agreement with the Council, and the Council/CARA does not like that. You are saying that the names/initials are switched…that is all. Again, one board has a couple of extra people on it that are not controlled completely by the Council, which you say is ARA. I say they are CARA and ARA. But, one of those groups has a couple of extra people who have minds of their own and do not just kiss the backsides of the Council.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          That’s hilarious and sooo wrong! (Have you ever been appointed to an*advisory* board? I doubt it…)

          1. It’s never just “…a couple of extra people…”
          2. It’s also common to have councilors in opposition on some items. That is as it should be.

          Of course you already know this. Oh, I forgot, you never attend any of the meetings…..

          • Cap B. says:

            How in the “H-e-double hockey sticks” do you know I never attend meetings or have never attended, or have never been on a commission/committee?? Oh, I forgot: you don’t need actual knowledge; you are the “full-of-himself” Ray K.

          • Ray Kopczynski says:

            Inquiring minds want to know.Tell us all which City advisory boards you have been on & when. Definitely has not been the one you constantly harp about…

  3. Anon says:

    “none of which worked out” When an organization pays 1.5 million for a property, declines a bona-fide full price offer, declines it and then proceeds to level the property the why “none of which worked out” deserves a more detailed explanation.

  4. Richard says:

    What no one wanted to pay an inflated price to develop it into another pot shop, or thrift store? What is becoming of Albany? How will we maintain our reputation as a second-rate city?


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