Quick updates on Park South redevelopment and Albany convention center

albany convention center site 2015-05-15

As the sign says: "Future Home of The Albany Capital Center."

Two quick updates on two big projects in Albany: Both the Park South redevelopment project and the Albany convention center project got approval from the city planning board Thursday night for their demolition plans.

The approvals moves both a bit closer to actual construction -- because it moves them closer to knocking down what's currently there.

Park South
Demolition for the Park South redevelopment project -- which includes clearing two whole blocks in the neighborhood between Albany Med and Washington Park so new residential, office, mixed use, and parking can be built -- will be done in phases, Columbia Development VP Rich Rosen explained to the planning board. Buildings on the site will be remediated for asbestos, then surveyed for salvageable historic pieces, and then knocked down.

Rosen said if things move along as projected, and pending approval of the plans for the project, construction could begin this October.

Albany convention center
The situation with the Albany convention center site was a bit unusual. Plans for demolition of the site at Eagle and Howard streets in downtown Albany had been snagged on the issue of a tunnel under Howard Street. (The tunnel had once been used by The Wellington Hotel to connect with a parking garage -- it seems it was quite proud of this amenity.) City engineers had recommended filling in the tunnel as a precaution because heavy construction equipment would be traveling overhead. The problem: the ownership of the tunnel wasn't clear -- was it the city or the property owner. And as a result, it also wasn't clear who would be responsible for filling the tunnel.

That question appeared to still not be officially settled Thursday night. But after a rep for Columbia Development (which currently controls the site) assured the board the company would take care of the tunnel situation, the planning board OK'ed the demolition plan.

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