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Warehouse District

Rezone_Albany_Warehouse_District_uses_2015-November.jpg

Rezone_Albany_Warehouse_District_streets_2015-November.jpg

Central Ave

Rezone_Albany_Central_Ave_uses_2015-November.jpg

Rezone_Albany_Central_Ave_streets_2015-November.jpg

The next shapes of the Warehouse District and Central Ave

Nipper from afar

The first "module" of the Rezone Albany project, and there are two public meetings coming up to review it.

Zoning might not sound like the most exciting thing, but it plays a in role all sorts topics. Examples? Well, this first chunk of the project (technical term) describes new zoning districts and potential uses -- so there are proposed rules for marijuana dispensaries, urban agriculture, food trucks, electric vehicle charging stations, and live-work spaces.

But the stuff that will probably first catch your eye are proposed special mixed-use districts for the Warehouse District and Central Ave.

So, let's have a quick look at those...

Images

There are a few maps clipped from the report above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up. Have a look and then scroll on back down here.

A few quick bits and thoughts

Form-based what?
These two areas are up for "form-based" code, which aims to lay out rules to guide how an area will look and feel, not so much about the specifics of how it will be used. Consultants have been in town for intensive reviews of each area to develop these rules. Here's a bit more of this effort so far: Warehouse District | Central Ave. There's also a similar review of the South End coming up in December.

The details of this form-based code are set to be released in the next module.

Changing the Warehouse District

draft rendering area of Broadway, Thacher Street, and Pleasant Street
A draft rendering shown this past summer of the possibilities at Broadway, Thacher Street, and Pleasant Street.

Much of the heart of the Warehouse District along Broadway is currently zoned for light industrial. But it's pretty clear the city sees a different future for the area -- from the document:

The purpose of the MU-FW district is to encourage the redevelopment of the Warehouse District into a walkable, urban mixed use center containing residential, retail, commercial, and entertainment uses, while protecting the continued viability of the existing industrial uses that surround that area.

Under this proposal, the Broadway corridor is switched to a "mixed-use core" designation, sections at the north and south end of the neighborhood are designated "walkable center."

It's also notable that the plan includes the possibility of extending streets such as Thacher, Manor, and Tivoli to Erie Boulevard, and then extending them toward 787. (It's not too surprising to see this -- it idea popped up a few times during the public events about the Warehouse District.) There's a train track that runs through there, so we're curious about how that would work. (Nearby Ferry Street already includes a crossing.)

Another thing that caught our eye: the "primary frontage" marking on the Warehouse District street map on Montgomery Street near Erie Boulevard. There's currently a very large building (for sale according to the banner on it) at the corner of Montgomery and Ferry. Hmm...

Further: There's more about how this potentially affects the Warehouse District over at Biz Review.

Central Ave

Central Ave ethnic markets

That southern end of that stretch of Central Ave is really interesting right now -- it's packed with all sorts of ethnic markets and restaurants. And it seems the idea for the Central Ave corridor is to help it move along more or less in the direction it's already heading. From the document:

The purpose of the MU-FC district is to encourage redevelopment in the Central Avenue/Manning Square area into a vibrant mix of residential and non-residential uses that support the investment in bus rapid transit services along Central Avenue while protecting the adjacent lower density residential neighborhoods.

The thing that jumped out to us the possibility of adding streets to break up the big chunk of land south of the Manning Boulevard/Central Ave intersection, as well as adding a grid of streets to Bleecker Terrace apartments.

There's also the proposed possibility of reconfiguring the Manning Square "wedge" at Manning and Central.

Public meetings

There are two public meetings scheduled to review this first part of the Rezone Albany project:

+ November 10, 6-8 pm, College of Saint Rose, Lally School of Education (1009 Madison Avenue)

+ November 12,1-3 pm, Palace Theater

Earlier

+ One version of the next Warehouse District

+ Thinking about the direction of Central Ave

Comments

It is about time! The warehouse district buildings were built at the turn of the century and are not efficient for "light manufacturing." Mixed-use, including residential only makes sense. Congratulations to the City of Albany for making decisions to move the city forward!

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