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A small meeting room/boardroom space.

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One of the meeting room spaces -- they can be subdivided.

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The ballroom ceiling has programmable LED lights that can change color and create moving patterns. It's groovy.

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That enclosed second-floor space leads to the walkway that connects with the TU Center and the ESP.

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Following on the casino floor pics, here's the convention center carpet.

Gawking at the Albany Capital Center

Albany Capital Center exterior

The new convention center in downtown Albany -- the Albany Capital Center -- officially opened Wednesday.

The $78 million project on Eagle Street has been in the works for a long time, stretching back to an earlier, larger plan at a site on the southern edge of downtown.

The idea is for the new convention center -- at the spot on Eagle -- is to provide a tourism boost not just on its own, but in conjunction with the TU Center and Empire State Plaza, to which it's connected to both by an enclosed walkway.

Here's a look around the new venue, along with a few details...

Photo tour

Look up: photos are at the top in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

A few details

+ The Albany Capital Center site is on Eagle Street, about a block south of the Capitol. It's roughly halfway between the Empire State Plaza and the Times Union Center. It's connected to both facilities by an enclosed walkway. (It's the walkway that was already there -- it's getting some upgrades.) It's also connected the Renaissance Hotel (and parking garage) across Howard Street.

+ Totaled up together, the three venues include approximately 160,000 square feet of space for events.

+ The overall convention center project cost is $78 million, the funding for which was allocated to the project by the state.

+ The convention center itself is about 60,000 square feet total.

+ Its spaces include meeting rooms, a multipurpose ballroom space, pre-meeting spaces, and a 3,000-square-foot catering kitchen.

+ The ballroom is really big -- 22,500 square feet with a 26-foot ceiling. It can sit 4,000 people for a meeting-style event, and 1,800 for a banquet.

Part of the reason for the design was so that the space could also be used for athletic events -- it can fit three full-size basketball courts -- with the goal of luring NCAA tournaments to town.

+ The "pre-meeting" spaces include local history-themed murals designed by Dahl Taylor.

+ It includes an underground garage with 130 parking spaces.

+ The convention center will be able to hold more than 5,000 people at one time across all its spaces.

+ The first public event is the MAAC-n-Cheese Festival this Friday in conjunction with the MAAC basketball tournament at the TU Center.

+ Officials say there are already about 70 events booked for this year.

albany capital center ribbon cutting

As mentioned above, this project has long roots. Former Albany mayor Jerry Jennings was a persistent advocate of the idea and he was at the ribbon cutting Wednesday, getting multiple shout-outs from officials, including current mayor Kathy Sheehan.

The Capital Complex

Albany Capital Center capitol complex map
image: Albany Capital Center

Moving the convention center project to Eagle Street site meant reducing its size. But it also allowed the facility to be connected to the Empire State Plaza and the TU Center. When those three venues are considered together -- "The Capital Complex" -- they include about 160,000 square feet of event space.

The idea is that this complex of venues will be big enough and flexible enough to attract a wide range of events, including smaller national conventions.

Earlier

+ Albany Capital Center construction tour

+ It won't be the site of the Albany convention center, so what will it be?

Comments

Looks really cool especially all the lights! Now if we could just attract some private industry to the city, maybe a bookstore, or how about a minor league hockey team.....oh wait.....

Did you mix your pictures up with the Rivers Casino?

At a glance, especially with that electronic logo sign, I thought it was a new post office...

Love the space, looks really cool. Didn't realize Siena games were moving there, that's awesome.

Going to be internet troll-y for a min (sorry), but what is going on with the logo? I don't get it. Sail boat? Shark fin? Doesn't feel consistent with any other Albany branding.

I'm ambivalent over the wall photo montages - the downside being is that, almost in unison, the first 16 of the 1000 words the chosen pictures are saying is, "Look at what Albany used to be, used to have or used to be known for". The latter of these three aspects - i.e. showing Albany's only claim to fame is originating toilet paper (and billiard balls) - is, on many levels, a sad statement. Again, much of what's pictured will certainly evoke the response of "that's nice"; however, they do nothing to answer to the ensuing question of "what's new (in Albany)?)"

Is there a name for this kind of architecture? The brick-and-glass institutional look with like 14 different planes? Reminds me of the ECAV building at RPI: http://www.athleticbusiness.com/images/gallery/slideshow/148.Rensselaer_1072_2010.jpg

I don't think it's attractive, especially in downtown Albany.

Waste of taxpayers money will sit empty half the time just like the center

Where will the gondola station be situated?

Not to be a jerk... but the neon sign is REALLY glaring and out of style for that corner when driving by on a gray afternoon. I feel like the Renaissance did so much to keep it classy looking... and this looks a bit... tacky? Then I fear it will be like the Armory sign... half lit and semi broken.

Are the basketball courts for practicing before actual tournaments or for actual games?

@Huh: The space could be used as practice courts during tournaments. (Apparently having such space connected to an arena is a plus when trying to land the NCAA basketball tournament.) As I understood it, the court was set up there this week as a demonstration of how it could work.

Yes, not impressed with the exterior architecture at all. Even the drawings for the new Albany High School renovations are more inspiring. It doesn't fit in with the rest of downtown and the sign is horrible. Let's hope it brings in some outside money to Albany at least.

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