Within the past few years, the downtown Albany apartment and condo options have multiplied. And within the past year, more of my friends have moved farther downtown, closer to the Hudson River than to Lark Street.
Katie both lives and works on Broadway in Albany -- her home and her office are just a block apart. We talked about her reasons for moving downtown, what it's been like so far, and what she hopes to see downtown in the future.
There are large-format photos above -- click or scroll all the way up.
What part of your city/town do you live in?
I just recently moved to the "downtown" area of Albany -- the Arcade Building on Broadway.
How long have you lived here?
I've lived here for about four months. I was one of the first renters in the building.
What brought you to this corner of the Capital District?
I moved to Center Square when I was 23 and I loved living in a neighborhood where many of my friends lived. It was fun, but as I started to get older I was beginning to age out of the Center Square social scene. Downtown is a bit quieter, with larger apartments, plentiful parking, and it's very close to my office. Many of my friends have moved further downtown as well.
What is your neighborhood like?
The new living options downtown make the neighborhood very up and coming. Recently, many developers have renovated old office buildings and lofts and converted them into luxury apartments. And as more people are moving down here, new restaurants and shops are opening.
A great new grocery store has opened, The Steuben [Street] Market. It carries items from many local food producers. You can go there to grab fresh produce, meat, and everyday grocery items as well as make your own six-pack of craft beers and GROWLERS! It is really also a great lunch spot. Having places like that give the neighborhood a residential feel amid the offices and businesses. The area really reminds me of the Financial District in NYC.
There's also a small park next to the building and the pedestrian bridge and bike path along the river across the street -- so plenty of outdoor space nearby, even though it's downtown.
What's your favorite part of your home? Have you had any challenges living here?
The décor of this apartment is my favorite. I really sprung for new furniture in this place. All my other apartments had furniture I had acquired from my parents' house and other hand-me-downs. I looked at this place as my "grown-up apartment." (While still staying on a budget -- meaning there was a lot of DIY!) I bought a few things new and I found some pieces of furniture on Craigslist and at antique shops. I painted them with chalk paint and re-upholstered the fabrics to jazz it up.
This is my first time living in a true apartment building rather than a divided brownstone. I really love the modern and sleek look of this building, rather than the more traditional moldings and accents. I'm from Long Island and the building's style reminds me of NYC in a way.
The building itself has everything you could need -- laundry downstairs, a game room, garage parking, and a full gym. There is a Starbucks around the corner, too! It's a great set up and I haven't had any challenges. (Yet! Stay tuned).
Has anything interesting or unusual happened in or around your home while you've lived here?
The building is still brand new so not all the apartments are filled up yet and they aren't always locked. So sometimes I like to go browse at the other options and floor plans in the building. I'm pretty sure I've looked into every unoccupied apartment. So maybe that makes me the unusual happening?
What is the best thing about the space (street/neighborhood/you pick) around your home?
I absolutely love this apartment, and the best thing about it is I work a block away. Center Square parking was a challenge. It's nice to be in a central location and I'm loving the new restaurants that are popping up down here! Ama Cocina is my current favorite.
What would you change about your home (or neighborhood or city) if you could?
I would love to see more people move down to this area and see the neighborhood really expand. My building is an old arcade that apparently used to be a popular spot in Albany for shopping. There are plans for retail space on the first floor, so hopefully it can become a shopping destination again. There's so much potential for new businesses serving both downtown residents and workers.
What would you say to someone thinking of moving to your area?
If you are looking for a change from Center Square but not ready for the 'burbs, this is the place to be!
This interview has been lightly edited.
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