The huge mixed-use building that could have stood along Clinton Ave in downtown Albany

1963 Clinton Ave mixed use proposal

Clipped from The Knickerbocker News, January 16 1963 via Fulton History

From the Annals of Projects Proposed But Not Built: While doing research for a different topic, we tripped over this 1963 Knickerbocker News article about a proposal for 15-story mixed-use building that been proposed for downtown Albany on the block of Clinton Ave just east of Pearl.

It caught our eye because, well, look at that rendering. And also because there are echoes today of some of the things people were saying about development in that spot more than a half-century ago.

The parcel of land bordered by Clinton, Broadway, Wilson, and Pearl had been cleared as part of an urban renewal program. And a developer, Fred Rosenblatt, proposed the building depicted above for the site -- it would have included retail on the street level, and then offices and residential on the floors above.

Rosenblatt seemed pretty keen on that area of downtown. In 1959 he had proposed a "modern, seven-story office building" on Clinton Ave across from the Palace. (The spot had been the site of another theater, the Grand, which had closed during the 50s.) Said Rosenblatt in a Knickerbocker News article about that project:

"We have noticed the remarkable shift in trends in many cities to move back to the downtown areas," he said. "As a matter of fact, suburban commercial developments are greatly dependent on downtown strength. Our survey is borne out in large communities in practically all parts of the nation."
"Samfred feels," Mr. Rosenblatt said, "it has acquired a prime downtown location. It is within two minutes walking time to downtown shopping and banking center -- a matter highly important in obtaining and retaining personnel."

But the project didn't come to pass. Nor would that other, later proposal for the next block down.

A little more than a year after the article about Rosenblatt proposing the 15-story building, the wheels were turning in Congress for approval of money for a new federal building at the site. And as, you know, that project did end up happening. The Leo O'Brien Federal Building -- O'Brien was the local Congressman at that time -- still stands there today.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

Thank you!

...has 24 comments, most recently from Erik

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine