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Albany Capital Center Media Tour

A major development in downtown Albany that has taken years to come together is getting close to opening. Reports were given an exclusive glimpse inside the Albany Capital Center today. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas took the tour of what's shaping up to be a main attraction for the area.

We're almost there: the opening is four months away. The structure and skeleton of the downtown building are complete. Crews are working on the innards – installing pipes, ductwork, taping and painting the unique Capital Room boardroom, large pre-function areas, 10,000 square feet of meeting rooms, the 3,000-square foot, full-service catering kitchen, and the 22,500-square-foot multipurpose ballroom with room for three full size basketball courts that could be used when the adjoining Times Union Center hosts tournaments.

ACC GM Doug McClaine, ACCA Chair Gavin Donohue and SMG Regional GM Bob Belber
Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
ACC GM Doug McClaine, ACCA Chair Gavin Donohue and SMG Regional GM Bob Belber

Albany Convention Center Authority Chairman Gavin Donohue says the structure is 75 percent complete: "90,000 cubic yards of clay was removed, which equates to 6,000 truckloads of clay, to build this building. 5.5 miles of steel are underground to hold this building up on the hill.  

7,000 cubic yards or 600 truckloads of concrete to build this building. 1,875 tons of structural steel and deck make up the structure. A thousand cubic yards or 700 truckloads of stone material. 60,000 cubic yards of brick. 42,000 square feet of roofing. 25,000 square feet of glass and 40,000 square feet of stucco."

Donohue says the Albany Capital Center is expected to have an estimated economic impact of $36 million a year, nearly $1 million annually for the state, county and city. "There’s 140 union workers working here today. We have a payroll of a million and a half dollars a month here. We have met our goals of MWBE. Over $13 million in contracts with women-owned and minority-owned businesses here. This facility will be ready to be opened March 2nd of 2017 to coincide with the MAAC basketball tournament.

Capital Center General Manager Doug McClaine says the facility will host trade shows, conventions, auto shows and more:   "A chocolate and wine festival, a beer festival, craft beer festival, craft show, sports expo show. So there's really a large variety of things. We're even in discussions of possibly hosting a roller derby event here."

The convention center is working with New York State Energy Research and Development to design and install efficient heating, ventilating and lighting systems and water-efficient plumbing fixtures. Officials say the building has natural wood and stone products, and a solar panel system on the roof to meet 13 percent of its power needs when operating.  

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.
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