Visions, concerns, aspirations for the St. Joseph's church building

st josephs albany exterior

The church building dates back to 1860.

There's a Ten Broeck Triangle neighborhood meeting this Thursday focused on the future of the vacant St. Joseph's church. A flyer mentions that the two guest speakers will be Christopher Spencer, the direct of planning for the city of Albany, and David Laccetti, an architect with Design Code Management Systems, who's "currently studying and evaluating" the vacant church building.

Meeting blurbage:

Each presenter will speak to us about the future development of St. Joseph's Church and take questions and answers from the audience. Residents are also encouraged to share their visions, concerns, and future aspirations for the St. Joseph's Church and our neighborhood with them.

St. Joseph's is a grand building and notable city landmark. It's also been the subject of multiple failed attempts over the last two decades to find a new use for it. The most recent high-profile attempt: the proposed brewery project that met strong neighborhood resistance in late 2012/early 2013. In May of 2013 the Historic Albany Foundation, which had been holding the building for preservation, handed the church back to the city.

The Capital Region has a bunch of church buildings that are no longer serving as churches. Some have found new, adapted uses. Other sit vacant or have suffered worse fates. It's a hard problem because the large spaces can be difficult/expensive to adapt.

The neighborhood meeting is Thursday, April 16 at 7 pm at the Ten Broeck Mansion. It's sponsored by the Ten Broeck Triangle Preservation League.

(Thanks, J)

Earlier on AOA: No brewery for St. Joe's -- so now what? (2013)


The Ten Broeck neighbors should insist that it stay an appropriate use, probably only a church. Anything else would ruin the neighborhood! There are probably tons of organizations willing to invest millions in the building to stabilize and renovate it so that it can stay mostly empty most of the time so none of the neighbors are bothered. Of course nobody will buy it and it will have to be demolished, but far better to stick to your principles.

I can't believe the city and HAF bailed them out by pouring money into the row house to save it after the neighbors refused to let it become a Dentist Office (Gasp!) Because having a Dentist's Office there totally would have ruined the neighborhood...

I hope it is used in a manner that enhances the community. I think it is terrible when architecture such as this just sits empty or worse if it is torn down and replaced with a box

Some use had better be found, appropriate or not, or it will end up like St John's down in the pastures- with big holes in the roof and the windows broken.

As to it the best use "only being a church" - that isn't very probable. This city is full of churches as it is, many of them with more seats than worshipers- there are realistic reasons why the diocese was closing them. A new congregation will need the money to support the building, and that is something most churches do NOT have these days - the organization that took over Our Lady of Angels is probably not going to have the funds to rebuild the damage caused by the recent foundation collapse....and that is yet another historic property in immediate danger. The old Holy Innocents church in the South End (it was last a Russian church) is fast on its way to ruin.

This place needs a use and the neighborhood had better be willing to accept anything that comes with a viable plan and realistic financing. Even a Roller Disco.....well, maybe something short of THAT>

I'm sure whatever is proposed will be shut down by the neighbors. We wouldn't want to destroy the idyllic and pastoral character of a city neighborhood or anything. Let's hope the property will make a nice park after the building comes down.

This whole thing with St. Joseph's is a great example of the negative consequences of NIMBY-ism. I cannot for the life of me think of one possible use that the neighbors WOULD approve of. Heck, if the impossible was to happen and a church DID propose to use the building I wouldn't be surprised if that was shot down by the neighbors due to "lack of parking". Albany Historic seemed to have put up a good fight for the building, but even they threw their hands up after the brewery proposal, basically saying to the city, "Here, you take it." When that happened it became clear to me that I would see the demolition of St. Joseph's , probably sooner than later. I really hope I'm wrong, but it doesn't look good for St. Joe's. Albany needs to be better than this.

The long of short of it is this: open your eyes, all the things people complain about being an issue if something useful were to take over the space are already in the neighborhood. Ten Broeck looked like damn landfill this spring. There are still numerous piles of dog sh*^#t outside my buiding from the winter. My dog eats barf, chicken bones and garbage off the street everyday that is haphazardly tossed out windows and dropped by lazy people. I even found hypodermic needles casually laying on the sidewalk outside someones stoop. Thats sper safe for all the kids in the neighborhood (sarcasm)
There were 2 stuffed animals laying in the street for 2 WEEKS a couple months ago. Dont get me started on the garbage situation on this street: just throw your bags out into the street for the possums(one of which my dog caught because it was outside my door!) and stray cats to rip open and spread all over.... oh and dont forget the glass bottles that are shattered all over the street because NO ONE owns a friggin garbage can! I live on this street and used to really like it. I love the archtecture and history. I love that church more then any other building in this city. But what you all think will be infiltrating the block is already a problem. Why not put something that will bring jobs and revenue to the city there? I dont see how it could possibly get any worse! such a waste.

I actually got married in that church 35 years ago after growing up in Bethlehem, and attending SUNY-A. As I will be visiting Albany this coming week, I thought I'd bring my current wife to the church, because it was one of the few most beautiful sites I considered worth visiting in Albany... OK, it was actually the ONLY sight-seeing thing that I could think of worth visiting in the Albany area. I guess we'll just drive down to the Catskills for a day.

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