© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Albany Projects Move Ahead

Plans are forging ahead on two multi-million dollar projects to remake the University at Albany’s downtown campus corridor and the city’s Palace Theatre.

Those who support the proposals have started the week on a high note: a series of public workshops kicked off Monday night to give residents in and around "UAlbany's downtown campus corridor" a voice when it comes to issues involving walkability, street beautification, parking needs, traffic calming and safety for the area between UAlbany’s Downtown Campus and the Alumni Quad.

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

10th ward Common Councilwoman Leah Golby says the Corridor Study is a four-day design workshop. "Last night was a hands-on design workshop. Today there's an open design studio, so people can stop in anytime, either today or tomorrow between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and that's at the UAlbany downtown campus at 200 Milne Hall, and then, by Thursday, they will be giving a presentation on the work in progress so far. It's an opportunity for neighbors and other stakeholders to weign in on what they would like to see in terms of development."

Jason King with Dover, Kohl & Partners, says the work being done this week is part of the larger Re-zone Albany project.  "We're taking input and we're drawing people's ideas and we're incorporating what we hear from the public into the plan."

People from surrounding neighborhoods are encouraged to stop by the workshop. "The study area is quite far away from the downtown campus. We're really looking a mile in every direction because all of that ties in to the campus identity."  King says that in re-imagining University Corridor, UAlbany is starting with "excellent historic buildings."   "If they're successful, they'll be building one of the great neighborhoods in the city of Albany. There's a lot of challenges in this area. This is an area that has seen a lot of absentee landlords, a lot of neglect. If we're successful, this will be another great shining spot that people will wanna associate and know and participate in."

WHO: The City of Albany Department of Planning and Development and the University at Albany

WHAT: Design Workshops to provide input on issues such as walkability, street beautification, parking needs, traffic calming and safety for the area between UAlbany’s Downtown Campus and the Alumni Quad (see corridor map); For more information on the Design Workshops see the attached flyer


  • Monday, August 1, 6-8 p.m.—Hands-on Public Design Workshop to re-imagine the corridor and changes to improve the quality of life
  • Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.—Drop-in to talk with the planning team and see the work-in-progress design
  • Thursday, August 4, 6-8 p.m.—Presentation and discussion of the design ideas that have been suggested during the week

WHERE: 200 Milne Hall, 135 Western Ave., University at Albany Downtown Campus

When it comes to "shining spots," Golby says when the Common Council met Monday night, members and the public discussed "the incredible impact" the $65 million dollar proposal to expand the Palace Theatre would have on the city of Albany — the plans and the attached proposed sale of the building.  "Several people came out. I would say between 15 and 20 people came out to discuss their thoughts about selling the Palace and really the one thing that I heard loud and clear is the benefit that the arts do bring and how a more robust Palace Performing Arts Center would really enhance our city."

The project entails expanding the theater's footprint along North Pearl Street, adding several new elements, including a 600-seat theater, creating a multi-faceted arts program, and establishing a state-of-the-art video post-production center. The city owns the Palace now, but would transfer ownership to the Palace, Incorporated, for a "nominal fee." 

According to the Times Union, the transfer would free the fiscally strapped city from maintaining the building, to the tune of an estimated $3 million for roof and other repairs.

The sale requires common council approval. Golby says the wheels are in motion but there is no timetable for now.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
Related Content