733_Broadway_residential_conversion_3.jpg

733_Broadway_residential_conversion_rendering_Norstar.jpg

Another residential conversion in downtown Albany, this time at 733 Broadway

733 Broadway, February 4, 2015

A pic of 733 Broadway from early February.

We noticed recently signs of progress on the residential conversion at 733 Broadway in Albany. This progress is notable for a few reasons:

+ 733 Broadway has been in the works for a long time, going back a decade in some form or other.

+ It's another bit in the ongoing residential transformation of downtown Albany.

So we were curious to find out what's up with it.

733 Broadway wide angle

Norstar Development is converting 733 Broadway into 29 apartments (about 44,000 square feet all together), with approximately 3,800 square feet of retail and office space on the first floor. The retail/office space is projected to be ready by May, and the apartments by August, Norstar development assistant Kristina Higgins told us this week.

The 29 apartments will include 23 1BR (747-1080 square feet) and 6 2BR (1179-1251 square feet). Higgins said rents are expected to range from $1,200 to $1,800. Rent includes a parking space (the building will have about 60 parking spaces), and there will be washers and dryers in the unit. The building will also have a fitness room and tenant storage space.

Higgins described the apartments as loft-style -- big windows, high ceilings, open layouts. And following the shape of the building, she said they're like railroad flats, thinner and longer.

The building dates back to 1950, according to city tax records records, and it once served as a plumbing supply showroom and warehouse, and then later as offices for the state Department of Health. Said Higgins of the building style: "We went with it, we embraced the old warehouse aspect of it."

Norstar is planning to split the retail/office space -- one part for its own office, the other 1700 square feet for what it hopes to be a retail or restaurant tenant.

"We're hoping to get someone in [the retail space] to bring continuity to that part of Broadway," Higgins told us. She said the company sees the project as potentially contributing to a connection between the north side of downtown Albany and the fermenting development in the Warehouse District just to the north.

733 Broadway from Spencer Street
733 Broadway as view from Spencer Street.

As mentioned up top, this project has been in the works for a long time. More than a decade ago Norstar proposed building a 9-story condo project on the site. The plan eventually morphed into a project that would have built 70 apartments, but that fizzled after the Albany Industrial Development Agency rejected a request for a $10 million tax break over 40 years. Norstar moved ahead with the current plan -- which unlike previous plans doesn't expand the building, but rather adapts what's already in place -- after another go around with the IDA resulted in a PILOT agreement that could be worth more than $2 million over 20 years. [Biz Review x2]

733 Broadway rendering
A rendering of what the finished building is projected to look like. / photo courtesy of Norstar

Higgins said Norstar is aiming to have a model apartment ready by this May, and it will be pre-leasing apartments. She said the company has already received a few calls from people interested in renting.

The development of new residential spaces has been a prominent theme for downtown Albany over the last few years, with more than 300 units newly created. And the Impact Downtown Albany consultants' report projected that downtown could add another 2,000 units over the next decade. There are currently multiple new projects in the works, including the recently announced plan to flip a building on Eagle Street near the under-construction convention center into 74 apartments. [Biz Review]

Earlier on AOA:
+ It won't be the site of the Albany convention center, so what will it be?
+ Impact Downtown Albany's vision of what the city's downtown could be
+ Architecture gawking in Albany's warehouse district

Find It

Norstar residential conversion
733 Broadway
Albany, NY 12207

Comments

How do these developers expect to fill the units when they are charging over $1,000!? I dont understand this market. I am a young professional who would love to live in these new apartments popping up but jesus, I couldn't afford rent over $800 per month with my student loan payments and everything else!

Cool. Glad something is finally happening there. $1200 includes a parking space. I wonder if I could rent out that parking space for, say, $200/month.

@John

A parking space is worth around $100 a month. You add in the gym, the free laundry facilities and probably free cable/internet and the value is already around $800

I understand development costs, but rent over $1000 in the "warehouse district"?! This is not NYC, people...

Exciting but mediocre to look at. Wishing something more progressive could've been done with the space around the building and with the design.

What I'd love to see incorporated into these apartment complexes is garden space. Whether it's roof top or part of the green space, it would be fabulous to have the option of a small garden plot for flowers or vegetables in addition to the obligatory parking space.

I'm glad to see the building being used, but disappointed to see such an uninspired elevation. The proposed building looks like it would be at home on Corporate Woods Blvd. Wish the developer had hired an architect with some real design chops.

Agree that the design of the building is very boring and looks right out of the new Albany Med development. BUT, it's great that this is actually happening after years of delays.

A good first step.I agree that the building design is mundane, but housing there is definitely an improvement. There are so many parking lots in this section of downtown, and those surface lots should be developed with the parking built underground. Finally, is anything going to happen at the much larger vacant lot next door with the defunct gas station, however? I would think that would be prime real estate.

@chrisck - I wonder if you could turn your parking space into a garden. You could put a lot of containers and raised plots in the average parking space, to say nothing of stacking vertically.

Is anyone else looking at this and just shaking their head? Albany can build all the apts, and condo's it wants, but with nothing serious to draw anyone down to the area, what good is it?
I'm amazed at the lofty opinion Albany has of itself and how little it delivers.

$1000 a mo. isn't outrageous. Take for example the comparable Monroe, a high end building - also a gut rehab of former industrial space provided assistance by the City IDA. The Monroe has enjoyed a near 100% occupancy since its completion.

And the renderings stink.

Hey, when people start buying houses again this place will be half-empty and they'll have to drop the rent. Have patience...

Affordable if people working in area want to share apt.
Inside of bldg is beautiful! Outside of bldg could have been better designed

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