December 14, 2018

Governor Cuomo Announces Plans for Transformative Project in Downtown Albany

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Schenectady-based Redburn Development Partners will invest at least $78 million to transform seven properties in the heart of downtown Albany. The transformative project involves the renovation and rehabilitation of seven outdated and neglected properties, representing more than 450,000 square feet of space, to create new mixed-income apartments, commercial and retail space, and much-needed parking.

“The City of Albany is growing and thriving, and this significant investment will only further attract new businesses and residents to the area,” Governor Cuomo said. “The renovation of these seven neglected properties will continue the city’s downtown revitalization by creating new jobs and mixed-income housing that will strengthen the area for generations to come.”

“Redburn Development has renovated vacant buildings in downtown Schenectady, fostering growth and economic opportunity over the last several years,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This significant investment by Redburn will transform seven abandoned properties bringing new life to the area of downtown Albany with plans for apartments and commercial and retail space. I was proud to announce Albany as a Downtown Revitalization Initiative award winner earlier this year, and this additional state investment will further our efforts to grow downtown and strengthen the economy of the entire Capital Region.”

Redburn Development will invest at least $78 million in seven prominent downtown Albany buildings, creating 350 apartments and more than 50,000 square-feet of commercial and retail space that is expected to attract at least 450 new residents to the downtown Albany area. Empire State Development has agreed to provide a $5 million performance-based capital grant, including $2 million from the Capital Region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative fund. Additional support may be realized through possible Federal and State Historic Tax Credits administered by the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The properties include:

  • The Kenmore Hotel (74 North Pearl Street) – renovation of the vacant 105,000 square foot building, constructed in the late 19th century, into a strategic mix of residential, commercial, retail, restaurant and rooftop event space.
  • Steuben Athletic Club (1 Steuben Place) – transformation of Albany’s first YMCA into a mixed-use facility featuring public entertainment, restaurant, commercial and residential space.
  • The Knick (16 Sheridan Avenue) – renovation of the former Knickerbocker News headquarters into a commercial space with 133 affordable apartments that allow someone making less than $40,000 to live in a growing, walkable community.
  • Capital Repertory Theatre and Garage (111 North Pearl Street) – creating a center courtyard with new retail/commercial/restaurant space, and refurbishing the parking garage, including the façade and the iconic spiral.
  • 39 Columbia Street – establishing new incubator space on the ground level, with studio work space for artists and residential housing on the upper floors.
  • Kennedy Garage (43 Columbia Street) – renovation of a 68,000 square-foot parking structure from the 1930s and creation of new housing on the top floor.
  • 55 Columbia Street – renovation of a nearly 4,500 square-foot, two-story building to complement development efforts along Columbia Street.

In September, the City of Albany was selected as the Capital Region winner for the third round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). These buildings are located within the Clinton Square neighborhood, Albany’s DRI zone, and will contribute significant private sector investment through the restoration of highly visible and iconic structures. The transformation of these buildings, combined with projects selected to utilize the $10 million DRI award, will create a hub that connects and catalyzes economic activity and growth across downtown and into the city’s Warehouse District.

Empire State Development President and CEO Howard Zemsky said, “Place-based investments that support downtown revitalization are at the heart of our economic development strategy, and restoring these properties will breathe new life into downtown Albany by creating places for people to live, work and play.”

Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, “The Downtown Albany Historic District was listed on the New York State and National Register of Historic Places in 1980 for the purposes of protecting the historic resources of our capital city and to create opportunities for the revitalization of its landmark buildings. Across the state the success of the historic tax credit programs has demonstrated that the preservation of our historic built environment creates economic opportunities and an environmentally sustainable path towards enriching New York State’s legacy communities.”

Jeff Buell, Principal at Redburn Development, said, “We are thrilled to be putting a flag in the ground of downtown Albany and declaring that the city is ripe for a comeback now. We have an immense amount of gratitude to New York State for recognizing how vital urban cores are and working with us to transform the most important pieces New York’s Capital.”

Captial Region Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, University at Albany President, and Ruth Mahoney, KeyBank Market President, said, “The Council continues to identify and support projects that invest in our urban cores, and these projects offer a mix of housing, commercial space, restaurants and parking that will further efforts to create an engaging, walkable community in downtown Albany.”

Senator Neil Breslin said, “By combining State funding with significant private investment, key buildings in downtown Albany will be redeveloped, contributing significantly to the continued revitalization of the region. I thank the governor and the partners at Redburn Development for supporting this transformational project.”

Assembly Member Patricia Fahy said, “Simply put, this $78 million investment from Redburn Development Partners with support from New York State will change the face of downtown Albany. While we often overuse the word transformative, its use is more than appropriate to describe this massive investment – especially in residential property. I commend Mayor Sheehan and Redburn Development for their work and their confidence in the future of Albany.”

Assembly Member John T. McDonald III said, “As someone who supports and recognizes the importance of historic preservation, I’m excited that these downtown Albany properties will be renovated, rehabilitated and transformed. These investments will pay dividends by bringing more residents and visitors to the area and breathing life into vacant and underused buildings. I thank the Governor for supporting investments like this in the Capital Region, and Redburn Development for helping to write the next chapter in Albany’s history.”

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “Downtown Albany is an historical, cultural and recreational hub of the Capital Region and supporting these projects will further reinvigorate its resurgence while continuing our efforts to address neighborhood blight. Rehabilitating these buildings is another important investment in the economic development of Albany County, and I thank Governor Cuomo, ESD and Redburn Development for their work on this.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “This transformative redevelopment is essential to the continued revitalization of Downtown Albany. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for helping maximize the impact of Redburn Development’s substantial investment in New York’s Capital City – a multi-faceted project that will lead to a significant expansion in the number of residential, commercial, and retail opportunities available Downtown.”