Downtown Albany could be transformed. The Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority Board approved partnership with a private developer that could bring apartments, a hotel, and new entertainment options and more. ADICA is investing $300,000 into this multi-million dollar development plan with Shandon Developments based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Downtown manager Aaron Blair says it is a major step for downtown.
This vacant lot could soon be transformed into an 80 room hotel. It's part of an 8 part development proposal from Shandon Developments, INC. geared towards attracting visitors and retailers to the area.
"They came to us for approval of site control of the most of the area of the 100 block North and 100 Block south where the Hilton is located and across from the welcome center," said Aaron Blair.
The proposal calls for renovating the Mule Barn into a banquet hall, adding on a convention center, and building that hotel next door.
"We have an interest on getting started with the feasibility study on the convention center, that's important, and look at the integration of other retail, possibly hospitality connected to that and some student housing," said Patrick Plettner.
Plettner hopes to put housing, primarily for Albany State students, on Front Street overlooking the river, along with numerous mom and pop retail stores. A "Pins N Strikes" bowling center could move into the old Belk building.
"They have an interest in coming here, so the next step would be to show them the space and then work out the dollars with them," said Plettner.
A Waffle House is already finalized. Construction is expected to start June 1st. Blair says this partnership with the private sector is a huge step for the downtown community.
"We're still trying to bring the private sector to the table, now that we've been able to do that and have a development agreement that allows us to really take the next step," said Blair.
"They're the first board that's really willing to take a risk and it shows that they believe in Downtown," said Plettner.
Blair hopes to see some of the projects complete by the end of the year. He says the developer is talking to retail tenants from Thomasville, Atlanta and Columbus who may have an interest of locating along Front Street.