ALBANY, N.Y (NEWS10) — Whether you remember it as a convent, Kenwood Academy, or the old Doane Stuart school, “What’s next?” is the question after a massive fire gutted the once-beautiful buildings. NEWS10 spoke with a local group that’s talking about how to move forward with the property.
The fire last month not only devastated the hearts of many and the historic buildings, it also sparked an interest in a group called Preserve Kenwood to take action. Cofounder Bill Brandow said that they are organizing to support the preservation of the historic core of the estate, first purchased by the Convent of the Sacred Heart.
“They bought 53 acres that were part of the Kenwood estate, which was a designed landscape,” said Brandow. “What we’re looking to do is preserve that that part of the designed landscape.”
A remaining 25 acres could become an economic driver for the area. “A good chunk of land up on the top of the hill near Mount Hope,” said Brandow. “There’s a good chunk adjacent to 9W, there’s a good chunk of land that we feel could be developed to bring tax revenue to the city.”
Brandow said they have looked for official guidance on their plans. “That does seem to have gotten some traction,” said Brandow. “We talked to the Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, and she was amenable too. There are grants for planning studies, et cetera, and that is a way to approach a project like this.”
NEWS10 reached out to Pat Fahy and are awaiting a response. Meanwhile, the group established a petition with a goal of getting 1,000 signatures to support their work to Preserve Kenwood.
Brandow says more plans are coming once they can move forward. “We’ve got meetings coming up with other elected officials, with lawyers who understand bankruptcy. Right now the property is held up in bankruptcy proceedings. My understanding is that could take almost a year to get figured out,” said Bradow.
The Albany Mayor’s Office commented on the matter: “The City of Albany stands ready to work alongside Albany County and the owners of the property to redevelop this integral and historic tract in Albany’s 1st Ward.”