Driving south on 787, it's the first eyesore welcoming you to the City of Albany. The long abandoned Central Warehouse. It's the towering 11 story concrete building that served as a food storage freezer facility from 1927 into the late 1980s. It's been bought and sold numerous times. Each time with grand plans to renovate, but those plans always decayed along with the building.

This time might be different. Two development companies from the Capital Region are teaming up to turn the decrepit building into a multi-use facility. Redburn Development of Schenectady and Columbia Development of Albany were the winning bidders on the building after Albany County recently took ownership. Assuming it's approved by the county legislature, the developers will take over the building for $50,000 and will not be on the hook for the approximately $500,000 in back taxes that are still owed on the property.

The plan? Working with the city, county, and state, the developers believe the lower portion of the building is ideal for apartments. Other parts could be used for retail or commercial space. There is also talk of some of the upper levels being converted to a parking garage. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says the developers are expected to put close to $100 million into the building for renovations.

Once the legislature approves the ownership transfer from the county to the developers, serious discussions will begin on potential uses for the building. One option that does not appear to be on the table is bulldozing the structure - apparently even that is too expensive.

[Albany Business Review]

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