Viewpoint: City hung out to dry with University Gardens

If Albany leaders can't find a use for a failed development in East Albany, they may have to repay $500,000 to the federal government.

Brush and trees still stand on land off Frank Postell Sr. Street that by now, was supposed to be University Gardens, a home to low to moderate income housing.

That hasn't happened, and now the bank is foreclosing on the property. Other than acquiring the land, nothing's been done with the 8.7 acres of land, near the sand dunes.

What happened to the $500,000, Liberty Partners Albany Land LLC, was awarded by the city to do the development?

DCED Director Latoya Cutts said, "It was their idea to use those tax credits to help fund the development, they were not successful or their application for tax credits was not a successful application."

"They're probably what is politely referred to as under-capitalized meaning they wouldn't have the assets to pay," said City Attorney Nathan Davis.

There you have it in a nutshell. We awarded a half-million dollars to an under funded group, who could only proceed, if the group successfully secured even more federal money to complete the development.

Now, a developer would have to overcome the two liens on the land, as well as have funding for a viable project.

City leaders will meet in November to craft some sort of plan to send to HUD by their deadline November 21. This is just not the way we should be doing business.

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