1976 was a pivotal year for downtown Albany. That was the year the Albany Mall opened, and some would say, the beginning of downtown's decline.
Since that time, folks have been looking for ways to keep downtown relevant, and from simply vanishing.
Our special report Wednesday night showed that tangible progress is being made, and there is a cohesive vision to boost the heart of the city.
First, we see the work underway at The Flats at 249, by developer Pace Burt. Burt is transforming the former Albany Hotel, once an Albany showplace, into lofts where people can live.
Vacant space on Pine Avenue will soon be occupied by a micro-brewery. We understand four other businesses are now looking to locate downtown.
And since it all turns on money, the downtown investment fund, which loans money to downtown developers, is a powerful tool to leverage private investment.
Experts say that 400 people need to live downtown, to sustain businesses there. We think even fewer than that, will prime the pump.
With the transfer of the Utilities Department from the former Gordon Hotel, once a six-story showplace, and the vacancy of the Exchange Building, there are more structures prime for loft living.
The downtown connection of the trails system to Albany State University, and the relocation of the Albany Museum of Art, are two more excellent and vital investments.
We support all these efforts being made downtown, but we need more of you to get behind these efforts and watch the heart of Albany become vibrant again.
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