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)