A project to renovate a section of downtown Albany home to two theaters is continuing.
In September 2018, New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul came to Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany to announce the city won a $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant to redevelop the Palace Theatre's Clinton Square neighborhood.
Hochul was back Wednesday to give an update on Albany's DRI, and she was introduced by fellow Democrat Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan: "Since we announced that we were a Downtown Revitalization Initiative award winner last fall, we have worked tirelessly to take a comprehensive and inclusive approach to projects that to projects that will continue to revitalize Clinton Square. We've held nine community meetings and workshops, giving members of the community the opportunity to share with us their vision and their experience and what they would like to see here in Clinton Square."
Hochul first cited the Albany Skyway Project, which would turn the Clinton Avenue Ramp off I-787 into a landscaped, multi-use pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists. "1.1 million dollars to activate the skyway with a pop-up park, construct a dynamic venue, Albany-happening for pop-up events, vendors and active public use along the future skyway. It'll convert an underused ramp from Quay Street to Clinton Avenue into a park connecting downtown to the Hudson Riverfront. And it'll attract residents and tourists to the area. I think that is going to be spectacular."
Hochul says $800,000 is earmarked for creating an artistic, signature gateway to the Skyway, while nearly $3 dollars will go to improve the visual appeal, function and safety of the Clinton Avenue streetscape leading to Clinton Square. $2 million will go to build the Clinton Square Studio, a six-story, mixed-use building at the corner of Broadway and Livingston with 70 affordable live/work lofts exclusive to artists and ground floor retail and community spaces. The development will house Cap Rep performers and crew. "These things come back even faster when they attract the creative class. These are individuals who could be anywhere. They could be in New York City, they can be in California, but if we attract them here because there's cool, affordable housing, a great place to work and a strong sense of community where one individual can make a difference."
Hochul also announced a new coffee shop is coming in. "This is gonna really, umm, enhance the productivity of the state workforce. This a good thing, they're hard working people but can you imagine everybody wired on Death Wish Coffee? It's gonna be awesome! So we're gonna have a two-story building on Livingston Avenue for Death Wish Coffee's first stand-alone branded cafe, $160,000."
Mayor Sheehan says the projects will help to make Clinton Square "a welcoming gateway to the Capital City." "This compact and walkable area is rich in history, it has tremendous art and cultural assets. It's within easy reach of the Hudson River and it's where five city investment zones converge."
Here is the complete list of all 12 projects being funded:
Improve the Pedestrian Experience along Clinton Avenue: Improve the visual appeal, function and safety of the Clinton Avenue streetscape leading to Clinton Square. The project includes the design and construction of streetscape improvements and pedestrian safety enhancements from Broadway to North Hawk Street within the DRI boundary. The design will feature a neighborhood gateway element, sidewalk and bicycle improvements, pedestrian lighting enhancements, tree planting and landscaping, new traffic signals, street furniture or other amenities, trash receptacles, and other potential infrastructure enhancements. ($2,818,010)
Create Live, Work and Exhibition Space for the Capital Region Artist Community: Construct the Clinton Square Studio, a six-story, mixed-use building at the corner of Broadway and Livingston consisting of 70 affordable live/work lofts exclusive to artists and ground floor retail and community spaces. The development will house performers and crew for the local Capital Repertory Theatre, attract artists from across the region, and provide a gallery and event space drawing visitors to Clinton Square’s emerging entertainment scene. ($2,000,000)
Activate the Skyway with a Dynamic Linear Pop-Up Park: Construct a dynamic venue, Albany Happening, for pop-up events, rotating vendors, and active public use along the future Skyway. The Skyway is a transformative public realm project that will convert an underused ramp from Quay Street to Clinton Avenue into a distinctive linear park connecting downtown to the Hudson Riverfront. Located at the Quay Street ramp, this venue will build on and contribute to the Skyway's activity, drawing residents and tourists to the DRI area. Among the improvements will be pavers, lighting, seating, landscaping, and electric and water service. ($1,100,000)
Create the Clinton Market Collective at Federal Park: Renovate Federal Park to allow for the creation of a new market concept and proving ground for start-up businesses. The activities proposed by this project – diverse pop up retail, installments by local artists, signature events and enhanced pedestrian connections – anchor Clinton Square’s role as both an engaging destination and an introduction to unique and vibrant local arts and commercial venues. ($1,000,000)
Create a Distinctive Gateway to the New Skyway: Create an artistic, signature gateway to the Skyway, a new linear park connecting downtown to the Hudson Riverfront. The Skyway Gateway, to be located at the I-787 exit ramp at Clinton Avenue, will include a decorative shade structure, pavers, lighting, landscaping, and a seat wall to create an iconic introductory moment to the park. ($800,000)
Enhance Connectivity and Pedestrian Safety throughout Quackenbush Square: Create an attractive, landscaped pedestrian corridor with improved sidewalks and crosswalks from the Quackenbush Garage to the Palace Theater. Improving landscaping, lighting, seating and wayfinding in Quackenbush Square and enhancing the pedestrian corridor between the proposed new parking garage entrance and Broadway will lead to a better resident and visitor experience with enhanced connectivity and safety, connecting potential DRI investments at the Quackenbush Garage, Federal Park, Palace Theatre, and the Capital Craft Beverage Trail at the Pumphouse. ($650,000)
Redesign Key Pedestrian and Vehicular Corridors for Safe and Stimulating Use: Design and install streetscape improvements along key pedestrian and vehicular corridors on Steuben Street, Columbia Street, and Livingston Avenue. The streetscape design will feature sidewalk and bicycle improvements, pedestrian lighting enhancements, tree planting and landscaping, street furniture or other amenities, and trash receptacles. ($400,000)
Light Up Livingston Avenue with an Illuminated Pedestrian Underpass: Illuminate the Livingston Avenue railroad bridge underpass with artistic lighting features to enhance pedestrian safety and create an inviting entrance on Broadway. ($250,000)
Add a Vehicular and Pedestrian Entrance to Quackenbush Garage: Construct a second entrance-only access point from Montgomery Street to the Quackenbush Garage, facilitating increased and safer access to the Palace Theatre, Quackenbush Square, the numerous dining and retail options in Quackenbush Square, and the future Skyway. The additional entrance will increase the garage's entry capacity by 50 percent during off-peak hours and 33 percent during peak hours. ($250,000)
Provide Additional Units and Pathways to Stable, Affordable Housing at Ida Yarbrough Homes: Develop up to 10 new home ownership units at Ida Yarbrough Homes to provide pathways to home wealth-building and home ownership for lower-income households and contribute to the area's vitality, cohesiveness, and shared sense of communal ownership. ($200,000)
Create Room for a Local Coffee Company to Grow into Its First Standalone Café: Construct a two-story building at 71 Livingston Avenue as Death Wish Coffee Company's first standalone branded café. The building will include street-level café space with outdoor seating, a retail component, and a tasting room. ($160,240)
Animate Clinton Square with Four Large-Scale Murals: Commission, complete, and promote four large-scale mural projects on highly visible walls within Clinton Square. These murals will add character and visual interest to an important gateway to downtown and improve walkability by continuing the landscape of public art into Clinton Square. ($71,750)