Jump to the intro.

Rezone Albany South End workshop draft presentation renderings

As mentioned below, these are just a handful of slides from the full deck of the presentation. If you're interested in the topic, you should flip through the whole thing.

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We included this slide to start because it shows the focus area along with some of the possibilities for reconnected streets (gray) and green space.

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A few versions of the South End's potential future

rezone albany south end dmv rendering cropped

That would be a bit of a change for the DMV site on Pearl Street.

Some quick follow-up to that series of Rezone Albany events focused on the future of the South End last month: The work-in-progress presentation from that week is online, and we've pulled out some of the renderings for easy gawking (they're after the jump).

Here's a clip from one of the presentation slides, summing up what the Rezone Albany consultants -- the firm Dover Kohl has been handling these neighborhood-focused, "form-based code" reviews -- gathered while working with the public that week from working with the public:

big ideas for the south end
• strategic infill & redevelopment street-oriented buildings; reconnect historic grid; mix of uses; mix of housing types; focus on blighted properties; vibrant activity
• improve access & enhance the waterfront connect the neighborhood to the waterfront; develop the waterfront with market-rate housing, hotels, parks, amenities to create an environment not available elsewhere
• lasting economic development diversify local economy; add quality jobs; education & training; redevelop aging affordable housing; mix in market rate housing; add missing housing types
• balanced transportation & better connectivity more transit; bike facilities; connect under highways both physically connections and mental connections; utilize underside of 787 to support connections to the waterfront
• strengthen neighborhoods & create "gateways" unique sense of place; mix of housing types; community amenities, historic preservation, repurpose the Bath House & St. John's Church

The whole deck of slides is worth a look. And even without narration they provide a glimpse at potential possibilities for the neighborhood and some of the ideas discussed.

As with the two other neighborhoods that got an intense focus and visioning during the Rezone Albany process -- the Warehouse District and Central Ave -- we wonder where the people and investment would come from to fuel some of these proposed futures. But if anything, the ideas and renderings are a way of having a discussion about what people do and don't want for the neighborhood. (The whole Rezone Albany project has been interesting in that sense so far.)

OK, on to the renderings...

Renderings

They're above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Earlier

+ Thinking about the future of the South End

+ Thinking about the direction of Central Ave

+ One version of the next Warehouse District

Comments

I have lived in Albany a very long time and have learned to to take such plans for a grain of salt. The city is great at holding meetings, getting interested groups together, polititaians anouncing grand plans. Even small projects get talked into the ground. You rearly see follow up and if by chance there is action it turns out to be minimal. Albany always thinks small and does as little as possible.

Love some of these ideas. Unfortunately, my pessimistic side imagines that most of the grand plans will never come to fruition. We have lots of thinkers- but we also need a lot of doers.

That waterfront! Wow!

I think we need a brewery at the DMV site--since that was the location of the the Boyd brewery/Albany Brewing Co., AND the Taylor Brewery was just down the street.

But I'm a bit biased.

Yes, downtown, the south end, Center Square, and the warehouse district all need a grocery store, but no grocery company will even think about building a store with no parking lot. It would automatically restrict their clientele to just a few neighboring blocks.

I agree with the pessimists - these plans will likely sit on a shelf somewhere. It seems you need the backing of a big corporation/organization - like Albany Med's Park south project - to get anything done. Who cares about the South End, except the people that live there? (I've owned a home in the "upper" South End for 27 years and have been waiting for economic development to increase my home value since day one. Its probably worth less now than what I paid for it in 1988)

Great! We'll get a better view of the oil trains.

Depending on your definition of a "grocery store," the Steuben Street Market is opening without parking. *gasp*

Of course you agree with the pessimists. You're all pessimists.

A couple things: Center Square/Hudson Park has a grocery store. And before you give me the tired, whiny Ghetto Chopper bit, they've done a great job renovating it last year. Downtown, as you may note by reading the most recent AOA piece, also now has a grocery store - this one without parking! Also, on Lark St, there is a small but utterly wonderful local natural food store.

And one quick point of clarification that may be needed on my part: I've been under the impression that ReZone Albany is about, well, zoning. I don't believe these are lists of actual proposals being brought before the IDA or CC, but rather what can be allowed once zoning codes are updated and aligned with Albany 2030 and being a city in general. As absurd as it seems, there are many areas of Albany with minimum parking requirements, even in walkable neighborhoods. Switching to a form-based code doesn't mean everything on the list is now on the table, but will simply be allowed under the new code in first place.

However, this is only my understanding of it. If I am wrong, I would love to be corrected.

@Jayk, I believe you are correct, at least that was the impression I was left with after participating in one of these meetings. The renderings are suppose to be reflection of what "could be" based on community disscussion and to help inform new zoning policies. With that said, it was also expressed that the city and/or developers should look to these renderings as guidance, given that they were driven by the community. While a potential project doesn't need to match these examples "brick for brick" it should be informed by them, alongside additional community feedback.

I agree with @Bill - Albany will just talk this into stagnation and in 15 years there will be no marked improvement in that area, let alone any real change. I hate to sound bitter, but this is Albany, a place where nothing happens.

I think Gov Cuomo should pay back to the people of Albany what Gov Rockefeller took from us 50 years ago. OUR DOWNTOWN!!! I know that sounds incredibly naive but if one person can stuff a south mall down peoples throats then maybe one person can help us begin the transformation back to the livable city it once was.

How 'bout it Mr Cuomo? We need your help here!

OMG. This blog is so exciting. Yes, this took me way back in late 50th, when we first enter the city of Albany. We live on Ferry St. Tunic St. and Green St. Memories never lies, my mind is running so fast. Look at the changes we live to see in this city of Albany New York. And more to come.

While we are speculating, let me add a "dream" thought: It would be great if they could somehow pre-package zoning approval and building permits (etc) for these concepts...for example, I hit the lottery and want to buy up several lots on the waterfront, and want to put in the boathouse, and offices and apartments in these conceptual plans, I shouldn't have to go through the lengthy expensive zoning process. It's an incredible disincentive to development to know that it may take years and $$$ to get the approvals. Save that process for when I want to build an autobody shop instead of a boathouse, etc.!

On a related/unrelated note: it would be significant if the city (or county or state) would take steps to move this plan forward by reconnecting some or all of the streets indicated, remove or sell the boarded up public housing towers adjacent to 787,(the ones with the christmas lights ontop), and actually start building the replacement residential units for the Morton Ave tower (there's been loose talk for years of developing townhouses to replace the Morton Ave towers), Issue RFPs for the boat slip installations etc.

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