Downtown developer wants to sell his property - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Downtown developer wants to sell his property

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August 25, 2006

Albany -- The largest property owner in downtown Albany wants to get rid of most of his buildings. Peter Studl bought up nearly all the vacant properties with promises of major new developments. Most of those buildings are still empty.

Studl is asking more than $13 million for 14 of his downtown properties.

He says he doesn't have enough money to develop the buildings alone, but he hopes someone else will.

Business owners say they're ready for new development to start.

Tosh Sivier says it can be hard to cut it sometimes, as a small business in downtown Albany.

"There's not a good balance of, or I guess a strong dimension or diversity of businesses, it makes it extremely difficult," said Salon Infinity manager Tosh Sivier.

Sivier works at Salon Infinity on Jackson Street downtown. He says if more empty downtown buildings are developed, it will be a win-win for old and new businesses.

"As both of those businesses progress they can both benefit from the traffic that's generated from an established business being in the area," said Sivier.

The man who said he would be a driving force behind that new development, now wants other investors to take the lead. Peter Studl recently listed 200,000 square feet of building space on the market. It's a total of 14 buildings, and the price tag for the whole lot is $13.4 million.

"It's everybody's downtown, and it's in a great position in a way because it's available," said Peter Studl.

Studl came to Albany four years ago with a promise to revitalize business on the low-traffic streets of downtown. But his plans to bring developments such as a Fire House Pizza restaurant and a Museum of Prayer haven't come through.

"It's the chicken or the egg, the chicken or the egg. Do you build the businesses and then the people come or do the people come and then you build the businesses," said Studl.

Small shop owners already downtown say people will come, when more businesses are there.

"I think it would be wonderful for a new developer to come in that has a wholistic view of generating more traffic and I guess promoting a better business atmosphere in downtown Albany," said Sivier.

Some small businesses downtown say their growth is limited until these empty warehouses are filled.

Some of Studl's property for sale dates back to the 1920's. Two buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Studl says he owns an additional 160,000 square feet of downtown property he is also willing to sell. Studl is marketing the 200,000 square feet as a package but says might sell some of it separately.

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