ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A longtime Albany eyesore is once again seeking a new owner. The Central Warehouse sits along 787 in Albany, pockmarked and tattooed with graffiti. It has weathered years of neglect and even a massive fire that lasted days. Yet nothing, it seems, can take it down.
In 2018, NEWS10 ABC anchor Tim Lake was given a tour by owner Evan Blum, who had purchased the former cold storage facility for about $280,000. He told Tim that he hoped to use it as a second warehouse for his reclaimed furnishings business.
But it appears that the plan hasn’t panned out.
A spokesperson for the city of Albany says several code issues were never addressed, and in April 2021, the city secured a judgement against Mr. Blum in the amount of $78,000.
Mayor Kathy Sheehan has said that she is not considering using public city funds to demolish the building and that she is hopeful that someone from the private sector will step forward with a compelling idea for the site.
But in the meantime, it is now on the auction block.
“We do have the right to put it to auction,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.
McCoy told NEWS10’s Anya Tucker that Blum has not paid any taxes since purchasing the property and owes more than $500,000 in back taxes.
McCoy says that once a bidder is selected, the county can petition the court to transfer the deed from Blum to a new owner. He adds that the new owner would not be responsible for the debt.
“We are hoping we can attract enough new bidders that will want to bid on this by June10. It’s something we need to change for our area.”
As for Blum, he told Anya that some of the violations were impossible to fix in the time allotted. He added that he tried to work things out with the city and that he is upset that a new owner would be forgiven the debt but not him.
He offered this statement over the phone:
“What I can do singlehandedly for New York State and the city of Albany is far greater than what anyone else can do with that building. I have the greatest and highest use for that building. This is not about money for me. This is about giving art to the community. I am going to create close to 700 jobs with this building and that seems to be something that is needed more than some innocuous use.”
Head to the Albany County website for information about the property and others up for auction.