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The blocks proposed for redevelopment are between here and Albany Med (in the background).

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Morris Street, near New Scotland.

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Morris Street.

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Community garden on Dana Ave. Albany Med's president said there would be an effort to find a new spot for the garden in Park South.

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The new AMC patients pavilion that's slated to opened soon.

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Over the last decade Albany Med has completely transformed the New Scotland Ave corridor by the medical center.

The big plan for residential and retail redevelopment in Albany's Park South

park south redevelopment

The plan is clear the two blocks between Dana Ave and Albany Med for new development.

Albany Medical Center announced today that it's ready to move ahead with the second phase of the redevelopment of Albany's Park South neighborhood.

The plan for this next stage -- a $110 million project focused on residential and retail -- will wipe clear two whole blocks of the neighborhood for new buildings. And it holds the potential to fundamentally transform the surrounding neighborhood.

The area

Park South is the narrow neighborhood that basically runs south of Madison Ave in Albany from Washington Park to Albany Med. This phase of the redevelopment plan is focused on the blocks bordered by New Scotland, Myrtle, Robin, and Dana.

The project would completely wipe clear those blocks to make way for new development.

The plan

Renderings of the proposed buildings, along with some photos of the current streetscapes, are in large-format above -- scroll all the way up.

Albany Med CEO and president James Barba stated the overall goal of this project succinctly at today's press conference: "Through private and public partnership we will build a neighborhood."

Here's an outline of what the plan includes:

+ Two of mixed-use buildings along the blocks facing New Scotland -- one six floors tall, the other five. The buildings will have retail space on the street level and residential on the upper floors.

+ A 135,000 square foot medical office building between Myrtle and Morris, just off New Scotland.

+ A parking garage stretching the rest of the Myrtle block -- it will include approximately 875 spaces. The spaces will be used by the medical office building and the new residential units.

+ Residential: 251 market rate, "traditional urban neighborhood style" apartments, distributed along Morris, Dana, one block of Robin, and above the storefronts on New Scotland. The apartments will be all 2 BR, 1 BR, and studios, according to the renderings.

The redevelopment plan is expected to cost $110 million. Half of that will come from Albany Med. The other half is coming from Tri-City Rentals, the large property management company based in Albany. It will be leasing land from Albany Med for the mixed-use portions of the project. BBL Construction and Columbia Development are also involved.

Timeline

Albany Med is aiming to get the necessary approvals to move forward by November. If that happens, demolition of both blocks would begin in 2014. And construction on the first block -- Myrtle to Morris -- would also start next year. The second block -- Morris to Dana -- would be started in 2015. And the whole project would be completed by the end of 2015.

"We're anxious to get it going and get it finished," Barba said today at a press conference. He described the project as "interest rate sensitive," and with rates on the rise, there's incentive to move the project along swiftly.

These two blocks are part of the Park South Urban Renewal Plan that dates back to 2006, and has already been approved by the Common Council. Councilman Richard Conti -- whose ward includes the redevelopment area -- said today that the Albany Med plan introduced today is "substantially consistent" with that original plan, so it won't need a bunch of new approvals by the council. A few things Conti pointed out that will probably need review: the height of the buildings, the siting of the parking garage, and the absence of any rehabbed buildings in the new plan. But he seemed to think that approval by November was possible.

Leah Golby -- a Common Councilwoman whose district touches part of the redevelopment area, and who lives just a few blocks from Albany Med -- also noted a few things she wanted to take a closer look at, including the shape of the Myrtle Ave streetscape. But: "I think this is a great project." And she thought its outlook for approval is good.

Relocation


Alan Azana. His family lives on Morris Street.

A significant chunk of the buildings in the redevelopment zone -- mostly apartments and two families, already owned by Albany Med -- currently have people living in them. Barba said Tuesday that AMC has opened an office to assist these people with relocation, including potentially offering subsidies for their new residences. Barba said the goal is to conduct the relocation as "humanely and responsibly" as possible.

Standing on the porch of his apartment on Morris Street this afternoon, Alan Azana seemed resigned to what was happening. His wife works as a nurse for Albany Med, and his family has lived in their 2BR apartment for about three years. They got a letter on Monday informing them they'd have to be out by the end of the year.

"We're all upset," he said of his family and neighbors. "We just want to know where they're going to relocate us."

As you'd expect, Azana had a lot of questions about what's going to happen next. The primary one, aside from where they'd end up next: Whether they'd be able to find another 2BR apartment for something around their current rent of $425/month.

But he pointed out that they knew this day would come along, eventually. "It's their right to move us."

Optimism

Park South hasn't had the greatest run over the last few decades. Many of the properties are blighted. And there have been problems with crime in the area. But when you zoom out a bit, the neighborhood has some strong positives, foremost among them its location within the city.

"This location has extraordinary potential," said Tim Owens, the general manager for Tri-City, citing the neighborhood's walkability and its proximity to Washington Park, Lark Street, and Albany Med. "This neighborhood will be a perfect match for residents seeking an urban lifestyle."

New Scotland Ave then and now

Albany Med has already spent something on the order of half a billion dollars significantly transforming the New Scotland Ave corridor near the medical center. And the hope among leaders is that this next phase will help spur further development. "It's only natural it will generate interest in the adjacent areas," Jerry Jennings told the crowd today.

Richard Conti called the plan a "significant step forward." He remarked that the residential density of the Albany Med plan would help sustain commercial activity along New Scotland. And combined with recent redevelopment on nearby Knox Street and the upcoming Delaware Ave Gateway plan, the wider neighborhood is picking up momentum. His hope is that will all eventually result in a diverse, mixed-income neighborhood.

One of the repeated themes in comments from officials today was the hope that Park South will grow into a vibrant, textured, diverse place -- a "real neighborhood" as Barba described it. And that's one of the questions about this situation: Can a big, top-down investment like this project cultivate that sort of place? Officials -- both public and private -- are betting it can. It will certainly be interesting to watch over the next few years.

Also on AOA: What about Valentine's, and the Quintessence building?

project renderings via Albany Medical Center

Find It

Park South residential and retail redevelopment
New Scotland Ave and Morris Street
Albany, NY 12208

Comments

Great! An entire neighborhood, a historic diner and the only legit music venue left in Albany are getting demolished to make way for more cookie cutter standardized urban architecture. Why doesn't Albany Med spend $55 million on more doctors and nurses so you don't have to wait 5 hours in the emergency room. I get it that the neighborhood is "blighted", but demolishing it to make room for Albany Med and its partners to make more money off leases and rent seems ridiculous, and I love the way they plan to "humanely" displace people; makes it sound like they are euthanizing a cat or something.

This is great! That area needs to be demolished. However, I think BBL construction and Columbia development need to go back to design school. Everything they build looks the same!!

I'd like to echo Dan's sentiment here fully, and add that the statement, "One of the repeated themes in comments from officials today was the hope that Park South will grow into a vibrant, textured, diverse place -- a "real neighborhood"..." is downright insulting to my intelligence, as well as insulting to the current residents of that area.

I mean, really? Implying that it isn't a real neighborhood now? I'd like to know what the criteria for a "real neighborhood" is, and who precisely gets to decide that.

Furthermore, as Dan pointed out, we're losing a historic diner and a local favorite music venue for the sake of AMC's vision of the block - would someone care to inform me what's going to be "diverse" or "textured" about that?

Please. Give me a break. It's plenty diverse and textured now, and we're taking a concerted step away from that. If you're going to do this, at least call it gentrification and be done with it. I'd prefer to be stabbed in the heart than be force-fed grade A bullsh*t.

Some of us think the bands @ Valentine's are more interesting to watch than an urban socio-economic cleansing. That venue is an Albany institution and a sight more worthwhile than the Recovery Room.

I find the "raze everything" mentality so disrespectful and short-sighted. It's the Empire State Plaza all over again. It may be harder to revamp that neighborhood from the inside out instead of the top down but I'd have preferred it.

I’m fairly optimistic about this development, a long time in the coming, and all the potential it has for this underutilized and neglected location of the City. It is a big project, and big project always warrant extra review and open themselves to extra criticism given the scope of change (for ill or better) that they bring to communities, especially those that possess historic or sentimental locations that may be forever altered.

However, based on my review of the community developed and approved Park South Redevelopment Plan, it appears this proposal hits many of the objectives and wish list items “the community” wants and needs, and that is the most important criteria, in my mind, for judging this development.

Unfortunately, I think it is wishful thinking to assume that the needs of the community, the goals articulated in the plan, and the urbanist objectives supported by residents of the City, can solely be achieved by small players, collectively over time. They clearly haven’t done so yet and that is why I think AMC, a non-profit, in partnership with Tri-City Rentals, a for-profit, had to come in and go big.

I think this development, which really only covers a third of Park South, will act as a catalyst to the remaining two thirds of Park South (due east), by encouraging those small scale parties to step in and rehab existing housing stock and make investments in new buildings to meet the growing demand for urban living, something that the residents, doctors, and staff of AMC have been clamoring for.

This is not a plan to address blight. It looks cheap. I am not a fan of making big ugly new things bigger, uglier and newer. Maintenance is much nicer than tearing down/building up. Will the retail be geared towards residents or Albany Med traffic? Tri City creeps me out. All of their buildings have gross, toxic smelling carpets that they shampoo with gross toxic smelling cleaners. The walls will be thin, the lighting will be sickening and fluorescent, I bet there will be acoustic tiles...ew. And asphalt, so much new, stinky, unfriendly asphalt, so black, hot and unnatural babies and puppies will burn their skin and hurt their insides. http://www.invw.org/content/new-studies-toxic-asphalt-sealants-threaten-kids-cause-air-pollution What do you want in your household dust? The culture seems lame. Albany is selling out. Cover all our fertile, moist holes with pavement, throw money at us and don't take us out to dinner. I gotta find me a place to live with better pimps.

Nice to see a large institution investing in their community. No point in preserving "history" if no one can enjoy it. This is definitely the right move and the city should be proud its hospital is committed to its future.

I have a feeling that the debate about this plan is going to be a perfect representation of the overall tension over Albany's future - arts versus business, homeowners versus renters, lots of extreme opinions on how things *should* be without much attempt to understand the real trade-offs... and no doubt a good dollop of political patronage and cronyism.

Already I can see that there's a lot to like about the plan, along with a few major gripes, and a lot of unanswered questions. Overall, this neighborhood needs drastic redevelopment, and this is at least a coherent and financially viable plan. It's certainly better than letting Park South continue to slide into neglect and ruin.

It's very encouraging that this debate can happen while there's still an opportunity for Common Council review. For all of us who have concerns, the focus should be less on sarcasm and polemics, and more on getting meaningfully engaged in the process while there's still time - that means passionately advocating for what we want, but it also means recognizing that there needs to be give and take.

I wish someone would tear down my neighborhood..... we live behind Delaware Avenue and the whole place is going down the sh*tter.

Don't like:
A parking garage bordering half a block of a walkable street.
No direct access from each apartment to the street. Would rather see a street lined with individual stoops.
Cookie cutter architecture! Every building built in Albany has the exact same windows and brick! How much does an architect hate his job if he refuses to create anything unique?

Oh and yeah, and those central parking lots are a joke. Make that green space and widen the street for on street parking. This design does nothing to increase the urban fabric

Dan and Sean, I'm not surprised that you don't understand the concept of a "real neighborhood" since you live in the northeast and are not "real Americans"

In all seriousness it stinks to see Valentines and Quintessence torn down. Knocking down institutions and putting up cookie-cutter housing+parking might be expedient for the neighborhood but a lot is lost, for sure.

Well it's great that they're doing it! I wish the design was a bit more unique but it's better than what's there now.

Can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

I was going to leave a comment about how and why this annoys me so, but Dan has already said it. Thank you, Dan.

I'm awfully disappointed in this. Albany has character! Yes it's shabby around the edges but it's still character and history. This new development has none. Razing an area with the urban neighborhood feel to put up sterilized stampcrete structures is so not the way to go. The surrounding neighborhoods won't match and will still feel "urban".... so are they phases 3 and 4?

Albany used to have a music scene that drew people into the city to hear original bands. The music was thriving and venues like Valentines were the hubs off of which the scene radiated. Now, we have corporate task masters and their politician toadies reshaping the city to fit their borg-collective consumer-capitalist agenda.

Is it any wonder the music is dying?

Thank goodness! I live around here - the dilapidated buildings, crap landlords and general "lack of care" are an embarrassment to the city. I have no idea why they're not condemned, they're clearly not up to code. I'm looking forward to the gentrification.

Redeveloping the area will bring in wealthier residents, less crime, new businesses, and hopefully further influence nearby areas like Center Square. Yeah, the buildings are a bit ugly - but hey, they're much better than what's there now.

The only sad part will be seeing Valentine's go. It's a great venue with fantastic acts. Many wonderful memories were made. Sigh..

To Dan, and Sean, and Elizabeth, and everyone else who says "someone" should rehabilitate the existing buildings rather than demolish and replace - who's going to do that? Why hasn't it happened already? Isn't AMC doing something better than everyone doing nothing?

It always makes me sad to hear this kind of attitude - I firmly believe that it's why so much of our city is falling down. It's easy to say that someone else should do the back-breaking, time-consuming, financially inviable work to rehabilitate buildings that have suffered decades of neglect - but that doesn't make it so. If you think it should be done, then do it. That's what the Albany Barn folks did, and there are plenty of other beautiful historic buildings ripe for the picking.

Right now AMC is willing to put up a big pile of money to do something with the neighborhood - and while I agree that there are lots of valid questions and complaints about exactly what they're going to do, at least they're not just sitting around wishing it would magically get better overnight.

I would like to know how many people opposed to this project actually live in Park South, or are around the area on a regular basis. I see all this talk about preserving the neighborhood. There's nothing left to preserve. The houses are falling apart, boarded up, unused. It feels neglected.

I think that razing two blocks is unfortunate but there's really nothing there left to save. Quintessence, Valentines and a few other select locations would be unfortunate to lose. In reality Valentines is the greatest loss as there isn't another venue like it in the area. And there's a lot of history there.

As far as history goes, someone will probably take Quintessence off the lot. Apparently Albany Med is giving it away for free as long as they don't have to move it. It would be cheaper for them to have someone take it away instead of demolishing it. So you never know. And there's still a few months before demolition begins. They might be persuaded to keep it,

Regardless, it sucks to hear two blocks of Park South are getting torn down. Maybe this will keep the other two-thirds of the neighborhood from meeting the same fate.

Can we just rename the neighborhood to South Park now? Because this plan is a farce.

Ok, that's not really fair, there are some really great things going about this plan. I like the set-backs and height of the buildings. Mixed use is a great idea, glad to see AMC is embracing what is considered a lost art these days. Market Rate is another meaningful buzzword I'm happy to see. Same with 'traditional urban neighborhood.' At least AMC knows where they are building, which is more than I can say about a lot of plans with a similar scope.

Really though, there are lots of thoughtful and considered comments here so far (on both sides), so I'll try to contribute some criticisms with more substance.

The issues that bother me most are; Where are the people and businesses displaced going? Is this really a 'traditional urban neighborhood'? and, Where's the green infrastructure?

I'd like to see every resident displaced offered a spot in the new residential spaces at the rent they pay now. They would need accommodations during construction sure, but at least they would know where they are going eventually and what they will pay. For the businesses currently operating, I'd like to see at least a right of first refusal to lease the space. Valentine's especially, but even the Subway, the dry cleaners, and the bank should all have an option to contribute to the future of the neighborhood. Quintessence I have less sympathy for since they're closed, but that building is gorgeous and I do hope someone will take AMC up on their offer (but I doubt it). The community garden is of particular concern. AMC has a chance to REALLY show it's commitment to the neighborhood by doing something great for the garden.

A 'traditional urban neighborhood' means to me that the sum is greater than the parts. Piecemeal ownership and lots of different interests coming together to create something special is what public space is all about. The monolithic ownership of these blocks flies in the face of that. Can I rent one of the residential units since I'm not part of AMC? Will they really be on the open market? Brad's comment about the parking lots is spot on, widen the streets to allow on street parking. The plan so far will create large dead zones along the side streets. Nothing going on and nothing to see, except dodging cars coming out of the garage. Anyone else notice Myrtle will be two-way along the redeveloped area?

The impact of this development on the city's infrastructure will be huge. The draw on electricity from the grid (unless they generate thier own, I'm not certain), the stormwater runoff generated during heavy rainfall, the garbage, so on and so on. Where's the structural mitigation of any of this? Are there any green infrastructure strategies to combat these effects? Rain gardens, stormwater collection, or even a green roof (Rooftop Community Garden, I dare dream)? Passive heating? Solar Panels?

So the plan has a lot of pros, and a lot of cons. But this should be a negotiation and treat it as such. I WANT this plan to happen, just, better. Every resident that cares should try to contribute some constructive criticism. Talk to your council people, if you're helping anyone run for office (and you should be), talk to your candidates. Talk to your neighbors, heck, talk to anyone who will listen!

As someone who has lived in Park South for close to 10 years, I think the proposed plan gets to 80% of what the community and myself wanted. As an employ of AMC, I love being able to walk to work and especially love my neighbors. What I don’t love is the slow erosion of my neighbor, which had been occurring long before I move in, which continues to deteriorate under the ownership of slumlords and limited code enforcement by the City (though, to be fair, the City has significantly upped its game on enforcing code issues, but it has to slog through decades of ignored issue in order to catch up). The community stepped up and worked alongside the City and select partners (non-profits, private, educational, you name it) and created a master plan that AMC is stepping up to put into play.

I am proud that my employer is stepping up, which it doesn’t have to, to help enhance our neighborhood and encourage more of my colleagues to embrace urban living . Many of my colleagues would love to live in the City, but want to have clean, modern housing, alongside quick access to commercial services, and this is a sentiment shared down the socio-economic ladder, from the guy pushing the broom to the women wielding the scalpel.

Which gets me to some of the flack that CEO Barba and partners have received over the loaded goal of “building a real community.” I think most people, namely those who don’t even live in Park South, have used this comment as a blank slate to lobby their own criticisms of how the institutions in our life (government, private, etc) have failed to address the socio-economic ills facing society, especially in urban environments. However, given my conversations with AMC staff and community partners, the “real” is simply a poor way of conveying that we want a true urban neighborhood, utilizing mix-use concepts. We want a neighborhood where retail is easily accessible and I don’t need to bike or bus out to the ‘burbs for a pair of shoes. We want better housing, that isn’t dictated by predatory investors and slumlords, who have let the neighborhood go to crap. We love being able to within five minutes be at work or at Washington Park, just like that, enjoying all that urban life has to bring. This is what is meant by a “real neighborhood” but should have been communicated more effectively.

I truly appreciate all the concern out there for my neighborhood, and truly agree that it would be nice to have everyday people stepping in to shore up the neighborhood. Those folks just haven’t materialized. I for one, who am saddled with student loans, find homeownership a difficult prospect, and assume that most who advocate for the “everyday” people to step to the plate are in the same plate. Therefore, I think the big players, whose plans have been shaped and guided by the community, is a perfectly acceptable substitute to getting the same results. I also encourage folks in the neighborhood or who live in the City that are interested in how we move forward (green infrastructure; modern housing; mix-use and transit supported developments) while preserving our past (protecting historic buildings and cultural institutions), continue to engage in the dialogue on how this development rolls out. There is a lot to like, but we still have time to provide our input to our Councilmembers and the institutional partners putting the resources into making this happen to make some minor calibrations where needed.

This will never make everyone 100% giddy, but that is life, and compromise is always necessary. I for one think the prospects on this change of the City are excellent for its future and am glad that the community’s ideals and input where heeded, if not to a perfect tee.

This plan wasn't contrived in a black box. Its been talked about for years and years with plenty of community input.

I like the plan. For those of you on here complaining about it. Really? Most of the current residents do not care about the neighborhood anyway. It's a very transient neighborhood with people coming and going all of the time. I would bet that 50 percent of the residents haven't lived there for more than 2 years. Garbage is everywhere, broken glass, and the homes are not kept up. At least Tri-City Rentals will maintain their properties. They're about the best management company in the region. Affordable housing? The city already has enough affordable housing. The city needs middle class people who will bring in business investment. Affordable housing should be built in Delmar and Guilderland and Clifton Park. I know people up there won't like it, but tough. Albany should not be a depository for poor people. The city cannot subsist with just low income people, and the region as a whole needs to step and with fair-share housing throughout the suburbs. It's not sustainable otherwise.

I would have liked to see some sort of green, shared community space somewhere within those two blocks.

Could they have lived with 1/4 less parking spots at ground level, since they are putting in a 6-story parking garage? A 20x20 fenced-in grass area with a picnic table, benches and a sandbox would be heaven for families.

That odd, traffic-circle shaped pathway just doesn't cut it.

Where to start....

As for the closure of Valentines, there's obviously high demand for a local music venue. I hope someone in the game, who wants to make a killing, is listening to this demand, and opens a place in the neighborhood. Not in Clifton Park or Latham, but a place that we can all walk to and listen to some good music. And where the floors are just as endearingly sticky as they are in Valentines.

As for the closure of Quintessence, same. They're giving away the store. I hope someone jumps on this, and moves it someplace great, and keeps using their famous bloody mary recipe.

My point is that neighborhoods are made and saved by people. And sometimes if you really want something, you have to find a couple business partners, move around some dollars in your savings account, and go for it. Some people have done that very thing in Albany and Troy recently, and have hit the ball out of the park. Ask them for advice if necessary.

As for the design of this place, it's really bad. Not because the buildings all look the same, that's not a problem. The buildings in Paris all look the same, and uniformity is charming if done well. These buildings are OK, and realistically, that's about the best you can hope for with hospital adjacent new construction. This design is very similar to the new construction off Broadway in Saratoga. It's not beautiful, but there are some touches that help. The problem is the parking. Predictably the parking. Here the parking to building ratio is about 1:1, which is way way way too much parking. And, I'm not sure how architects don't yet understand not to put your parking in the middle. What kind of view are you giving people? It's lazy architecting.

Putting the 2 surface lots underground, or attaching these 60 spots to the parking garage across the street will cost more, but it's only 60 spots, and it's a medical facility investment - they can afford to do it right.

These are some Times Union commenter level comments here. Really? Have you been to Park South lately?

I can just imagine if this was moved a mile or two north/northeast. Then it would be the travesty of losing row houses and ethnic diversity and a "neighborhood" feeling of Arbor Hill. Please.

Let Albany grow as a city. Let gentrification happen. Let things people WANT to come, come. When the city's bankrupt like Detroit because complainers scared off all the new businesses, the complainers will just blame it on others and leave too and say what a shame it all is and how the politicians failed us.

N.B. Lived downtown for a few years. Feared for life some nights. Still live in Albany. Not a business owner or anyone with an investment interest or connection to Albany Med. Am a person with some disposable income I would like to spend locally. Democrat.

@Luke So much agreement!

Working at Albany Med I'd like first dibs on an apartment in the area, but in the interest of fairness I imagine it'll be first come first serve?
Though it would be greener if the tenants were walking distance to work. (Be it AMC or the VA or CDPC or one of the colleges...)

Speaking of greener, they better come up with a good idea for the community garden to be nearby.
Rooftop gardens would be excellent. Rain barrels for stormwater collection to water the garden and decorative plants would be a plus.

I like the idea of the streetlamps, and at least the construction is complimentary to the newer stuff, if not very appealing to me personally. (Give me wood and brick and stone and character! The older the better.)

There's definitely room for improvement. Maybe in the same vein as the Albany 2030 plan.

From a neighborhood association announcement:

Albany Medical Center is now prepared to go forward with the redevelopment of the properties within Park South bordered by New Scotland Ave, Myrtle Avenue, Robin Street, and Dana Avenue as detailed within the Park South Urban Renewal Plan. AMC would like to provide valuable information to residents and the interested public about these plans, and will hold an informational meeting at the Huyck Auditorium located within Albany Med on July 24, beginning at 7PM. Escorts from Albany Med will walk attendees to the Huyck Auditorium from the "Pillars" entrance to Albany Med located on New Scotland Ave and across from the Hilton Hotel (or Starbucks for my fellow coffee aficionados), starting at 6:45.
This meeting will enable you to provide feedback on the AMC Plan for these properties, and detail the specific changes that exist between this Plan, and that which had been specified within the Park South Urban Renewal Plan (PSURP).

So that's tonight ya'll, 7pm.

I bet none of the upset folks here will show up at the meeting.

To me, implying that residents better keep their opinions to themselves or else their Sugar Daddy will get mad and move on is just silly. AMC wants certain surroundings and is willing to pay to get them. Its neither complaining nor anti-progress to point out that a large health-care corporation trying to create an Albany neighborhood could use input from people who actually live in one.

Valentine's, Quintessence, and the community garden are all worth incorporating into the redesign if AMC's stated goal of a vibrant neighborhood is legit. Removing them leaves zero trace of that area's history or character, and for what?

@Luke- you make excellent points, and I would only point out that according to the TU Quintessence was open until AMC bought it.


Just wondering with AMC buying up all this property to build new structures on , will they be paying any taxes on all this property or will that just be more taxed properties off the tax roll?

Elizabeth-

That's both true and false. Quintessence' owners decided to close on their own (probably because all the people on here complaining that they're closed never went in and ate there in the past three years). When they decided to shut down, they put the building up for sale and offered it to Albany Med.

This plan has been in the works for years. The neighborhood has gone downhill because AMC wanted it to go downhill. Albany Med owns most of those ugly, dilapidated buildings that people are complaining about here, and Albany Med, like any slumlord, has let them slide into ruin because they knew the day was coming when they would be razing them. Same thing with all the other building owners in that neighborhood. Why would anybody put money into fixing up a building when they knew they would be facing the city and the monolith that is AMC down the road? Jennings, Barba, BBL, Tri-City Rentals, are all drawing from the same deep pockets. If Albany Med cared about the neighborhood they had their chance to show it a long time ago, by encouraging their employees to buy into the neighborhood and rebuild what was already there. Instead they chose to essentially corporatise for the pursuit of profit.

I am not saying that the new neighborhood might not be a step up from what is there now, but lets not pretend AMC, & just about everybody involved in this project didn't know a long time ago that they would be driving down the price of the neighborhood, so that they could rebuild it for cheap & maximize the profit.

Also, my guess is that when AMC says they want a diverse neighborhood, what they really mean is they want a place for their medical students to live and feel safe. Also, if the rest of their expansion is any sign of what one might expect from their future endeavours, we can all expect more chain stores and say goodbye to any small businesses.

Absolutely correct Chester.

"..what they really mean is they want a place for their medical students to live and feel safe."

God forbid! If I had an unbelievable amount of money I'd do the same thing to half of Albany.

Echoing other commenters - how many people against this development LIVE IN (or have lived in) the neighborhood in question? I don't mean popping down from a nicer area for a show at Valentine's or a bite to eat when Quintessence was open. I mean, have to go shopping. Might not have a car so you have to wait at a bus stop possibly after dark. Doubt it's many.

Because when you're in that situation and you know going out after dark might mean a brush with trouble, you're not so concerned about the particular style of architecture. You don't see the architecture.

They should make this a LEED AP certified project. Greenwash the heck out of it.

I hope the city gives this plan an honest review but if the past is any indication they will probably roll over and give AMC/BBL whatever they want, including property tax abatements.

Chester is right, and so is Chauncy.
AMC probably did allow the neighborhood to fall apart so as to make it easier (and more profitable) to remake it as they saw fit.
But there is something else many supporters miss (that Chauncy hit upon indirectly): any property that AMC develops will never again be taxable. Never. A giant swath of the city will now be a tax-free zone in a city that already has about 60% its land off the tax rolls.

Someone might argue that this is already the case for this land. If that is the case, then we need to seriously reconsider what "non-profit" means, because there is no way anyone can argue that AMC is somehow the same as, say, the Social Justice Center over on Central.

AMC is a revenue-generating machine, and anyone who thinks about it or any of our local institutions like it (e.g. a St. Rose who also gobbles up land and removes it permanently from the tax rolls) as though they are quaint institutions where nurses still where white hats, doctors carry black bags, and students wash dishes to pay for tuition are, for lack of a better phrase, out of touch with reality.

Absentee landlords and crime filled dirty streets. Just like most of my home town of Troy. Although, South Troy is making a come back! North Troy is getting really bad! Redevelope this area of Albany and draw in a better class of people that want to work and be productive members of the community. However, the buildings all look the same! Where is the character in the proposed architectural design?

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