ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — You know you see it driving down Interstate-787, the eyesore in downtown Albany. The Central Warehouse could finally be getting a new lease on life.

The half-million square foot property has sat dormant for decades. Numerous owners have tried to take it over and have been unable to successfully redevelop it. As it nears its hundredth birthday, the building begs for renewal, recommitment, and rebirth.

“I think it’s going to be the pride and joy of the city of Albany. It’s going send a signal that Albany is open for business,” said Albany Councilman, Owusu Anane.

Redburn Development and Columbia Development submitted the joint proposal for the purchase and redevelopment of the building known as the Central Warehouse, located at 143 Montgomery Street in Albany. The two development groups are taking on the impossible project to change the Albany skyline forever.

Their firms have completed more than two dozen historic renovation projects including the recently revamped Kenmore Hotel, an $80 million, investment on North Pearl Street, Proctors Theater, 701 River Street in Troy, the Foster Complex in Schenectady, and the Wick Hotel in Hudson.

Anane says he couldn’t think of two better investor groups to get the job done.

“It’s a great day for the city of Albany to actually have two prominent investors. They have a wonderful track record and are looking to invest in this property.”

The cost of the project is over 60M. The investors stated it would cost 32M for materials and 36M for labor. Developers say the project will not happen overnight. The Central Warehouse does not need to be knocked over. Demolition and asbestos removal would likely exceed $10 million. After the expense and effort of demolition, Albany would be left with a vacant acre of land in a Warehouse District.

“Our local government is working with the community, and with the private sector on this project. The community and the city of Albany are going to win,” said Anane.  

The plans for the redevelopment include retail, parking, public amenities, and art. Developers say the building offers soaring ceilings and a huge layout. One potential user, Huck Finn’s Warehouse, has already
proved it can excel in the neighborhood. After 30 years, Huck Finn’s Warehouse is planning
on shifting its location as it prepares to exit its current home.

“The project has a world of ideas and I hope that they listen to the residents to see what they would like to see,” said Anane.

Albany’s ugly duckling could soon be a beautiful swan, courtesy of a couple of developers and cupid’s arrow.

“This is such a wonderful Valentine’s day gift to the city of Albany.” 

The bid for the project has already received many letters of support from Mayor Sheehan’s office and local lawmakers.