Albany Medical Center unveiled a long-anticipated $110 million revitalization project for a massive two-block swath of New Scotland Avenue, transforming it from a patchwork of businesses and dilapidated apartments into a modern mixed-use development.
The Park South project includes a five-story, 135,000-square-foot medical office building on Myrtle Avenue, street-level retail space with second-floor apartments on New Scotland Avenue and an 875-car parking garage connected to the medical office building. The project will also create off-street parking along the west side of Dana Avenue and on both sides of Morris Street, according to plans released Tuesday.
Albany Med will split the cost of the project with Albany-based Tri City Rentals. Under an agreement between Albany Med and Tri City Rentals, the hospital will lease a substantial portion of the land it owns to the company, which manages apartments throughout the state.
Albany Med will own the parking garage and medical office building, which will house both faculty physicians and community practices. Tri City Rentals will develop two large mixed-use commercial and residential buildings on New Scotland Avenue and traditional urban neighborhood-style apartments, for a total of 251 units.
Construction is projected to begin in early 2014 and conclude by the end of 2015.
The project aligns with the Park South Urban Renewal Plan produced by the Albany Local Development Corp. and adopted by the city’s Common Council in 2006. The plan maps out a vibrant urban neighborhood in a nine-block area bordered by Madison Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, Robin Street and Delaware Avenue.
The objective was to “create a vibrant and healthy mixed-use and mixed-income urban neighborhood that seeks to reinforce the existing historical fabric, density and diversity of the neighborhood while enabling new mixed-use development opportunities.”
James Barba, Albany Med’s president and CEO, said the project reflects the hospital’s commitment to the vision outlined in the urban renewal plan. Since that time, he said Albany Med has coaxed more than a half-billion dollars in investments — both public and private — that have helped revitalize the area around the hospital.
“The project that we are announcing today is a promise kept,” he said in a statement.
Likewise, Norman Massry, owner of Tri City Rentals, said his family is committed to improving the area. He said the Park South plan should bring new life to the area.
“With new and varied housing opportunities, green space and landscaping, our goal is to ensure that the new homes and retail outlets will bring a renewed vibrancy to this area,” he said.
Mayor Gerald Jennings lauded the project as an example of how a partnership between public and private entities can help dramatically transform areas of the city. He said the vision of Park South will soon become reality, again making the area one of the city’s choice neighborhoods.
“This project’s benefit to the community will mark a new era for Park South,” he said.
Park South will uproot at least one popular local business. Valentine’s Music Hall and Beer Joint is at ground zero of the area slated for the second phase of the project, something that was playfully noted on the club’s website Tuesday.
“We’re all about the urban renewal,” reads a subheading below the club’s name on the site.