Albany's oldest shopping center gets a facelift - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany's oldest shopping center gets a facelift

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May 24, 2006

Albany - Renovations are underway at Brooks Plaza on Slappey Boulevard. The owner of Brooks Plaza hopes the renovation of the shopping center will spark improvements in south Albany.  

Since the shopping center opened in 1959,  its facade really hasn't changed much. But when owner Bob Brooks saw the major renovations underway in downtown Albany, he knew Brooks Plaza needed to be updated too.    

If the dogs ever stopped barking at Pamper Pets, you could hear the buzz of progress.    

"We're watching as it goes along, as they do this and that. We say 'What's this going to be,'" said Pamper Pets owner Helen Shaw.

Pamper Pets owner Helen Shaw was excited to hear Brooks Plaza was being renovated for the first time in decades. Shaw remembers shopping here in the 1960's, long before she opened her pet grooming business.

"We had a counter drug store at that time, and everything was here. This was it, the biggie."

The 47 year old shopping center once housed Woolworth's and Penney's. Now, there are 28 stores in Brooks Plaza. Bob Brooks is updating the shopping center, adding a new facade and making some other repairs. But he won't say much about how the final product will look.

"He just told us we would like it," said Shaw. 

Brooks says the downtown Albany revitalization effort made him realize that south Albany needed some revamping too. Shaw agrees.  "Everybody likes to see something new."

Shaw hopes more business owners in the area will spruce up their store fronts and reopen vacant businesses.   

"There are so many people who live in this area. With gasoline prices like they are, you need something that's accessible to them, closer to them. I think this really helps in this area." An area that was once the heartbeat of Albany's business district and with the help of some good grooming, may be again.  

The renovations to Brooks Plaza should be complete within two months.

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