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27 Western Ave

27 Western Ave

The former school building is at Western Ave, Robin Street, and Washington Ave -- it faces Robin.

We've been watching the activity at 27 Western Ave in Albany recently. The property -- which is across from Washington Park, adjacent to the downtown UAlbany campus -- is a former school. It's currently undergoing a residential conversion project.

Always curious about these sorts of re-purposing projects, we talked with the development company. And here's what's up.

The plan for 27 Western Ave includes 31 units, says Ali Gutman with Fairbank Properties. The building will include studio, 1 BR (single floor lofts, and duplexes), and 2 BR apartments. Rents will range from $750 per month for studios, $900-$1350 for 1 BRs, and $1500-$2000 for 2 BRs. Rent includes parking (1 space for each unit -- apparently there was some concern about that), fitness center, laundry, a bike room, and water. Utilities and heat are not included. [TU]

The project website includes renderings and unit floor plans.

Gutman says the project is almost complete. They're expecting to start showing the apartments in mid-September and start signing leases at the start of October.

Fairbank bought the property from the Albany school district in January 2011. The Albany schools had been using the building as the Adult Learning Center. [Biz Review]

Gutman says Fairbank was drawn to the stately building because of its large windows, brickwork, and wide staircases with "huge" landings. She says the building will retain some of its original details (though, sorry, no chalkboards). The units have ceiling heights that range from 12-17 feet, and include exposed piping and ductwork.

Another factor that drew the developer: location. The building is right across from Washington Park, within walkable distance of Lark Street and downtown.

There are large format exterior photos of the building at the top page -- scroll all the way up.

Find It

27 Western Ave apartments
27 Western Ave
Albany, NY 12203

Comments

We're very pleased to see a former school being repurposed to a use that will benefit the neighborhood and entire community.

Based on references in the TU back in 2010, these rental apartments seemed to have started life as a condo project. I'm curious as to the factors involved for developers in choosing between apartments and condos for a residential project, and wonder if there's a story behind this one apparently switching.

I wholeheartedly agree with Dan. Would much rather see a building, especially one that has history and/or character be re-purposed than torn down to make way for new. Tearing down and removing older buildings little by little removes a city's history.

Wow, the designs on the website look great, I may have to go see them when they're finished.

900 for a one bed? on that block? lol good luck. seriously, i lived in a great one bed that went for 660 just down the block. it was huge and closer to the park. it also had 2 beds for about half the price of that building.

Some more background about the building. From 1991 to 1994, my high school (Street Academy of Albany / Harriet Gibbons High School) called that building home, before moving to the currently razed Our Lady of Angels campus in Arbor Hill. Many years before that, the building was known as the Albany High School "Annex" - an adjunct campus to the main high school.

As the other commenters said, it's great to see an older building like this being renovated and reused.

@Bob, while I don't know the specifics of this particular project, there is a stronger market for upscale apartments than for condos right now. This may have affected the developer's ability to obtain financing.

While I applaud the reuse of the building, $1500-2000 a month for a two BR apartment? You could buy a pretty nice house in the area, and pay somewhere in that range for a mortgage payment, and have something to show for it in a few years.

Yeah, yeah, I know - not everyone wants to own. But still - food for thought.

I too find those prices to be quite high. Then again the Alexander apartments - which have no neighborhood appeal and have none of the character of this place - are about the same price and are completely rented out. I'm speculating that a lot of people who could buy are instead renting. I've been looking at buying in Albany but have found the available housing to be a huge disappointment. Many homes selling in my price range - about $200,000 - have good raw square footage but need substantial updates that would run into the tens of thousands of dollars. I'm not talking about updating to granite countertops and Italian-tiled bathrooms, but windows so old your heating bill in the winter would turn into several hundred dollars, roofs that haven't been repaired, siding that hasn't been painted in 20 + years, and sagging porches that need to be completely rebuilt or dismantled. I'm especially perplexed with the people who own Audi's or BMW's but their houses look horrible. Strange priorities. So I think a lot of 30-something people just don't want to deal with these things and choose to rent until they save more money to buy either new construction or an old home that has already been already renovated.

After owning in Albany for 6 years, I would definitely go back to renting at these prices. It's not just the mortgage payment but all of the little fun extras too. Just replaced the furnace in my house this week! Even if I factored higher rent each month it would be less than I spend on my house.

Not to mention the constant story about equity - I would love to sell my house and break even at this point but that won't come near to happening.

Great project and wonderful vision by the developer to re-use a beautiful building.

A scan of the FAQ yielded some disappointing information, however

Q: Are pets allowed?
A: No dogs are allowed in any of our buildings. Cats are permitted.

A real shame. It's too bad.

TROY already has several of these (one is subsidized and the others are open mkt)

I use to live in the old St. Mary's School across from the Troy Washington Park (now called Park Place Apartments). Rent was cheap. There was off street parking. and elevator. access to the private park. AND the units were beautiful (old wood work was left in place and most of the chalk boards, which was super fun). I lived in the 8th grade.

Even with taxes, etc. figured into my monthly mortgage payment, my lovely 3+ bedroom home costs less than a 2 bedroom apartment.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure these units will be quite nice (those windows are amazing and I love that they're re-purposing the building), but homes in Albany have become very affordable in the last couple of years.

I wonder how they managed to add so many bathrooms to the building.

Also, school was a miserable experience for many. Living in a school to remind you of it? Ewww....

Lu - Schools make excellent condo/apartment buildings and will look nothing like a school when it's done. (Except that you'll have awesome giant hallways to move your mattress into your place instead of struggling to get it up a narrow, winding staircase.)

This is an awesome looking building and the interior renders look nice enough... but I think the whole project would have been much more attractive as condos. The prices they're asking for rent are way more than I pay for my condo mortgage in similar building, unit size, location, with most of the same amenities.

A guy could get laid in a place like that

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