ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A fire burnt through one of Albany’s most historic landmarks, the old Doane Stuart school. The fully involved fire began around 6:30 p.m. and took just under four hours to get under control. The building was extremely damaged with the steeple collapsing during the fire.
Albany Fire Chief Joseph Gregory said there were challenges getting enough water to fight this fire and preventing the wind from spreading it to nearby buildings. “With the wind factor and the embers that were flying we were very lucky to prevent any issues with that,” Gregory said.
Mayor Kathy Sheehan said city and county representatives met with a potential developer as recently as Mar. 14, 2023 to discuss the future of the site and have encountered several problems with the current owner Kenwood Commons, LLC declaring bankruptcy with over $5 million in overdue taxes.
“This was a priority building as far as wanting to get it into redevelopment and there were a number of fits and starts but it was unfortunately sold to Kenwood Commons, LLC and they did not follow through on their plans for redevelopment,” Sheehan said.
Code Enforcement regularly visited the building to monitor deteriorating conditions and secure it. “This was a high priority building for us,” LaJoy said. “This was the kind of tragedy we were trying to prevent, we had several cases against the owner, several court cases against the owner.”
Doane Stuart was a tenant of the property until 2009 before relocating to Rensselaer. A spokesperson for the school released a statement to News10, “The faculty, staff, administration, and alumni at Doane Stuart are heartbroken to hear about the fire at our old campus. It was an absolutely beautiful building and property that held years of memories for so many of us.” The fire is under investigation.