Riverfront Project gets federal support - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Riverfront Project gets federal support

September 8, 2003

Albany- Subway Manager Edd McGruder knows there's something unique about this downtown Albany Subway.

It's the only store in this row of new storefront space that's part of downtown redevelopment.

"We hoped it would build up faster, that some department store would come in next to us," McGruder said.

But he says business gets better every day. Now the federal government is putting its weight behind downtown redevelopment with a loan of $5.5 million dollars to help with the hotel and conference center.

"While the Rivercenter has always been our crown jewel from an attraction stand point, it is the hotel conference center that has always been the most vital project to complete in order to bring about the critical mass of people in this area," said ATI President Thomas Chatmon Jr.

But business leaders here knew it would be the hardest to achieve.

"Now that we have achieved it, I think the confidence level will go up," Chatmon said.

The hotel and conference center will be on Front Street between Oglethorpe and Broad Avenue. Eventually the businesses there will be cleared out to make room for the new Hilton.

There's already $35 million worth of redevelopment projects that are completed. And another $55 million in projects are under construction now, including the Flint Rivercenter that may open next summer. City leaders hope that will help attract large crowds, and Edd will be ready to feed them, maybe with a bigger restaurant.

"In the future, we're looking to spanning out, right here," he said.

Building a bigger business as the city builds a bigger, better downtown.

posted at 11:05 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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