Developer sees potential in downtown plans - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Developer sees potential in downtown plans

January 23, 2004

Albany- Peter Studl is the proud owner of downtown Albany property.

Many people wouldn't call this block on Front Street prime property, but Studl says it will be. His plans for some of this property is how he hopes to make that happen.

No, he's not starting his own fire station. But he is opening Fire Truck Pizza later this year.

"This truck is from New York." These antique fire trucks from all over will be part of the atmosphere. "This will be cleared out to make a booth."

He's got plans for the rest of this area too. He's even finalizing a purchase on the junction on Residence Avenue for office space. But some people in Albany are still skeptical any of this could turn into bustling businesses.

"They're either really right or really wrong," Studl said. "You can make it work here. All the ingredients are here to make this downtown work."

Mayor Tommy Coleman wants to establish tax allocation districts to give developers like Peter incentive to build in blighted areas. The city commission will have to vote on Coleman's plan and decide which areas of the city would qualify. Studl says he's seen it work before.

"The taxing bodies agree to take the increase in taxes that would incur because of the improvements and invest them back into the development or the community around the development, so nobody really loses."

And downtown Albany could gain. With or without tax benefits, and regardless of the past, Studl sees potential here.

"You can't look entirely at what the failures have been. You learn from them, but you can't be totally guided by them."

He hasn't been. And he hopes to turn this property into a prime place everyone in Albany can be proud of.

posted at 9:50 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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