Downtown Albany facades get facelifts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Downtown Albany facades get facelifts

July 13, 2006

Albany - The next step towards revitalizing downtown Albany is giving the outside of old buildings a new, fresh look. Albany Tomorrow and the City of Albany put up $225,000 to help business owners pay for facade facelifts.

A fresh coat of paint or a new canopy can make a big difference in the look of downtown Albany businesses.

"Retail is all about drawing people to the stores and then into the store, so it has to look exciting," said Peter Studl.

Developer Peter Studl knows the importance of an inviting storefront. He's one of a handful of downtown property owners who've applied for facade grants to spruce up their storefronts.

Studl said, "For just $1,000, you can make your building look a lot better." The grant gives up to $5,000 so facade renovations can be more elaborate than just paint and signs.

"There will be quite an aesthetics impact on downtown because of this program," said Tommy Chatmon.

ATI President Tommy Chatmon says ATI and the City's Community Development Program put up $225,000, knowing many storefronts needed major attention.

"There are many facades in downtown Albany that are not of the artistic and architectural level that we would desire for them to be," said Chatmon.

ATI hired a designer to work with business owners on the design of each storefront. Owners are expected to pay for 20% of the costs with the grant paying for the rest.

"All the money adds up," said Studl. Studl says the grant paid for much of renovation work to the outside of Broad Avenue property where he plans to open a restuarant. He hopes that the City, County and ATI will continue to find innovative ways and more money to help entrepreneurs start up businesses downtown.  

Three business facades are getting renovated now, with more coming as soon as the designs are approved.

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