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Albany receives $10 million state development award

Albany receives $10 million state development award

Grant to revitalize downtown Clinton Square neighborhood
Albany receives $10 million state development award
Pictured left to right is Albany County Executive Dan P.McCoy, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheean and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Photographer: Marc Schultz/Daily Gazette Photographer

ALBANY -- New York's capital city will receive $10 million in state economic development money for revitalization of the Clinton Square area, which is many people's introduction to Albany's downtown if they arrive by Interstate-787.

"Albany's historic Clinton Square neighborhood is the front door to our state capital, and this investment will ensure that the community can advance significant revitalization projects," said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, speaking Thursday at the Capital Repertory Theater, in the heart of the downtown district, at 111 N. Pearl St.

The award comes through the third round of annual Downtown Revitalization Initiative awards from the state. The theater itself received a state grant in March to help it move several blocks north to 251 N. Pearl St.

On Wednesday, Hochul announced that Amsterdam won the award for the Mohawk Valley region.

The state, for the past three years, has awarded $100 million -- $10 million in each of the state's 10 economic development regions -- for downtown revitalization projects, as part of an initiative shaped by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The previous winners in the Capital Region economic development area were the cities of Hudson and Glens Falls.

In its application for the grant, Albany officials pitched improvements to the area where I-787 exits onto Clinton Street, which also incorporates intersections with Broadway and North Pearl Street. The idea is to transform the area into a "welcoming gateway" to the city.

The $10 million in state funds are expected to generate new private investment.

The area, which is also among the city's oldest neighborhoods, already has Cap Rep, the Palace Theater and brewing and distilling companies, and city officials estimate the neighborhood is seeing $280 million in mostly private investment through commercial and residential development.

The Clinton Square area is where downtown private and state office buildings give way to residential neighborhoods and the Warehouse District, which is gaining new life with residential redevelopment, restaurants and entertainment venues. (Cap Rep's new home will be in the Warehouse District.) 

The goal of the initiative is to see the redevelopment spread into the adjoining low-income Arbor Hill and Sheridan Hollow neighborhoods, city officials said on Thursday.

The Albany Skyway, which will convert a little-used interstate ramp into an elevated pedestrian walkway, is also within the development area and is being developed with the goal of appealing to both residents and visitors.

The $10 million in state funding is expected to generate new private investment. The money could be used for water and sewer improvements, other public infrastructure needs, or to assist with construction and renovation projects.

"As New York’s Capital City, Albany has something to offer everyone -- a deep-rooted history and culture that is matched with exceptional natural landmarks, remarkable attractions, entertaining events, a vibrant night life and a thriving arts scene," Mayor Kathy Sheehan wrote in the application. "Albany has tremendous momentum, and an investment in Downtown Albany through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative will not only strengthen this force, but will enable us to truly ignite future economic and community growth."

Initially, the state funding will be used to do a $300,000 planning study that will determine the best ways to spend the rest of the funds.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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