Interesting comment from Joe Nicolla, president of the prominent Columbia Development, at a Biz Review event Tuesday morning: "If I can get out and walk to all the attractions I want to, and shopping is there and parking is there, I would live in downtown ... I wouldn't live in the suburbs." Nicolla also mentioned Columbia is "looking at doing residential" in downtown Albany. [Biz Review] Earlier: A look at downtown Albany residential options (2012)


Having lived on Columbia Street for a couple years about 3 years ago, I can tell you that Joe is right, but unfortunately downtown has none of this. This is why I moved to Troy.

Living there was pretty horrible due to the lack of amenities and parking in particular. I had to move my car by 7AM every morning or I would be ticketed and the closest place to park was Ten Broeck, I had meters on my block. The closest (closest decent) laundrymat was at Lark Street, the closest grocery store was on Lark Street and even the drug store closed at 7 PM.

Until they remove meter parking from the blocks which surround downtown or get a parking system into place for commuters, which is quite the ridiculous failing/money maker for Albany Parking Efarcement, I would NEVER consider moving back. I can live with having to drive to other places, but if they want to make downtown liveable, they need to make it parkable.

Keep hearing these stories but not seeing any action

this story along with the clean up/revitalization of the hudson river have been told now for 20 years.

Everyone agrees that we need downtown retail and most importantly a grocery store. But the mayor has never done anything about this.

Neither has Capitalize Albany.

Or the Industrial Development Agency.

Or the downtown BID.

Or the ACDA.

Or Columbia/BBL. They own some property downtown.

All we hear about are convention centers and casinos. Which cater to people who live in the suburbs.

Millions in subsidies have gone to BBL and other developers like the people who bought and shut down the Dewitt Clinton What have we gotten in return? How about all of these groups start doing some real work?

Getting together once a month to vote on big tax breaks for hedge funds sounds like fun, but it does nothing for the city

And having the bars open until 4AM is pretty much an anti residential program. And the argument that this is needed to support the economy is a joke. If you are drinking at 3AM, you are not a very productive member of society (yeah, I don't consider members of the Assembly productive members of society. I'm willing to hear arguments that prove me wrong but never have)

Downtown retail will occur once a bit more people move downtown.

Downtown still needs about 1000 more units for businesses to consider opening up downtown. "The Monroe" and the various small projects are a good start, but we really need 3 more large buildings to be converted, and then maybe we can start talking about retail.

Code Monkey forgets that were are people who work jobs that are not 9-5. I work 11p-7a, and I'm up on my off nights until 6am. It is nice to have a place to go that's open late, those late bar hours keep restaurants open 24/7 here. It's insulting to be told that because I'm up late at night I'm a hooligan.

As for all of this crap about parking, people don't drive someplace to park, they drive some place because there's something there that they want experience. What would you have us do, tear down the walkable neighborhood, and replace them with parking lots? If we destroy what we have there'll be no reason to visit downtown. Everyone wants to park for free (and nobody ever does, the cost of your parking is factored into the cost of your goods services and rents), you just can't in a tight space like that. Pay for a garage space.

Late to the party here, but thanks for bringing this up, it's an issue that's not mentioned often enough. I don't have all the answers, hell I don't even know all the questions, but it's clear there's a problem and downtown Albany could be a lot better than it is. Shining a spotlight seems like a good way to help start things.

Anthony- your solution to downtown parking is "Pay for a garage space". Where? Aside from the Plaza and the Arena I know of only a handful of parking garages downtown and they are small and mostly located in the business district. Some of them predate WWII.

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