ALBANY, N.Y. –A concept design for a new scaled-back Albany convention center was presented to the Albany Convention Center Authority Board on Thursday.
This alternate proposal calls for an 80,000 square foot, right-sized convention and meeting facility hub at the apex of the Empire State Plaza, the Capitol Walkway, and the Times Union Center at Eagle Street, significantly reducing the cost of construction to be within the current $75 million NYS appropriation.
The original $220 million plan would have put the convention center behind Broadway and included a hotel. While the ACCA says it acquired the land, the funding never came through – but that the $75 million left over from state funding should be adequate to cover construction.
According to officials, the plan answers the need for an affordable solution and will enhance the function of the adjacent facilities at the Empire State Plaza and Times Union Center, while providing a fully enclosed and completely renovated walkway to serve as a modern conduit linking the proposed convention and meeting facility with those successful, existing venues.
"By creating things at a new location that is not available elsewhere in the city. By thinking in terms of a 30,000 square feet ballroom for instance, which we don't have elsewhere and certain specific types of meeting spaces that are full divisible; we enhance the function of the TU Center. We enhance the function of the Empire State Plaza," said Duncan Stewart, executive director of the Albany Convention Center Authority.
"If we're going to move forward, let's move forward. The money was allocated for the city of Albany. It makes sense that it stays right here," said Mayor Jerry Jennings.
But the new concept was disappointing for some including Patrick Hall, the owner of Franklin's Tower Restaurant and Bar on Broadway.
"As far as the traffic and what was going to happen in the old site versus the new site. It would have been a lot better with the old site," said Hall.
The presentation was made during the ACCA board's regularly scheduled meeting on July 25th.
Check out the site's floor plans below the comments section.