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From savior to stumbling block?

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November 8, 2006

Albany -  Some Albany Tomorrow, Inc. board members are worried about fallout from the closure of some downtown restaurants. Developer Peter Studl, who owns much of downtown Albany, recently pulled the plug on three businesses there.

Hubble's, Popcorn at the Park, and Georgia Fries are all belly-up. Studl says he plans to remodel Hubble's, but in the meantime, members of the Albany Tomorrow, Inc. board say the closings send a bad message to potential developers, and that Studl is holding the properties he owns hostage, by not making the rent affordable-- or selling them.

ATI's President Tommy Chatmon says the closings should not be a reflection on the patronage of people in Albany. "I just don't want anyone to get the impression that the sky is falling in downtown, based on any single or small number of operators, who unfortunately, have not been successful in their operations."

Members of the board also discussed potential problems meeting obligations that were made to the Hilton Garden Inn. They told owners of that property that they would work on developing Front Street, but haven't been able to fulfill that, because Studl also owns those buildings.

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