Planning board hears proposal for Park South neighborhood - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Planning board hears proposal for Park South neighborhood

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Albany Planning Board heard from the public Thursday night about Albany Medical Center's plans to transform the Park South neighborhood.

The multi-million dollar expansion project would include building retail shops and apartments. But the transformation of the two city blocks would mean some people may have to relocate.

Back in July, the hospital presented the plan to Park South residents who had mix feelings about it.

"I'm feeling like they told us a lot and delivered hardly anything," said longtime Park South resident Julie Maynes. "I want to see them stick to the plan as promised years ago and they still haven't delivered."

But the plan is coming to fruition, with detailed drawings and a feel that the plan is ready to move ahead. Thursday, some tweaks to the original plan were presented to the planning board.

"I think essentially a lot of the changes came as a result of things we heard during the first meetings," said Dan Hershberg, who was hired by the developers of the project.

Hershberg says one major change comes to building height with some construction along new Scotland being allowed to stand six stories tall rather than five.

Also, the massive parking garage will now be even larger and the number of apartments that are planned in this area jumped from 140 to 156.

"I believe these changes are major but they are well within the confines of what was going to take place here," said Hershberg.

The changes also include increased green space around the apartments and an addition of a specific office space which can be used by police and hospital security, with safety being another issue expressed by many residents Thursday.

"So a lot of changes have already been considered," said Hershberg. "We heard what people said and we are willing to address those as we go ahead with site plan process."

The planning board will now take what they heard Thursday and present their recommendations to the Albany Common Council.

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