May 20, 2010

Mayor Also Announces Enhancements to 485-a Tax Incentive Program

Albany, NY – The City of today unveiled a new luxury condominium project in the downtown area. Mayor Jennings was joined by developers Jack and Seth Rosenblum to celebrate the launch of this new project at 17 Chapel Street.

The Rosenblums’ project will transform an abandoned warehouse into 24 luxury residences that feature sweeping views of the City and offer access to downtown theaters, parks, entertainment venues, businesses, shopping, and fine dining establishments. These luxury condos also feature a variety of exceptional amenities, including stainless steel appliances, beautiful hardwood floors, marble or granite countertops, heated indoor parking, an onsite fitness center and a rooftop patio.

“This rehabilitation project proves that downtown Albany is moving to the next level in its continued renaissance,” said Mayor Jennings.  “Downtown residential development and reuse of former commercial properties are strategic initiatives of Capitalize Albany’s economic development strategy, and this project is proof that our efforts are creating results.”

One of the key features that made this project possible is a newly energized tax incentive offered by the City called the 485-a program.  The 485-a Program—
administered by the City of Albany— is a tax abatement program which applies to structures in the City that are converted from commercial to mixed use. The assessment of the existing building (pre-development) is held in place for the first eight years following conversion, and beginning in year nine, 25 percent of the increase phases in each year until full assessment in the 13th year.

“I would like to thank Mayor Jennings and the City of Albany School District for creating the 485-a program,” said Seth Rosenblum, Principal Developer.  “Without this program, a project of this size and quality would have been much more challenging, if not impossible, to implement.”

The existing four-story building at 17 Chapel Street was built in 1928. Over the years it housed several auto dealerships and most recently was used by the Capital Repertory Theater for offices, set and prop storage, set construction, and rehearsal. Capital Rep sold the building to its current owners in 2008.

The new building, designed by Schopfer Architects, will add a steel structure with three additional floors. The first and second floors will house the lobby, fitness center, 38 reserved parking spaces and storage units inside a heated garage. Twenty-four condos will be located on floors three through seven, with a roof deck at the 8th floor level.

The exterior of the building will be re-faced with new materials to give a historic feel. The overall aesthetic is inspired by the original modernist structure and mixes in elements of contemporary style while evoking the rich history of downtown Albany.

“This project fits with our overall plan for downtown residential developments,” said Michael Yevoli, Commissioner of Development and Planning for the City of Albany.  “There is a need for more residential space downtown, and reusing existing buildings brings them into good use and promotes the vibrancy of the neighborhood.”

“I applaud the Rosenblums for their commitment to downtown Albany.  The transformation of their building – both inside and out – will add much needed residential property to the downtown market,” said Georgette Steffens, Executive Director of the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District. “This project will be the catalyst for future residential development projects in downtown.”

The project has received approval from the Attorney General’s office, one of the last steps before construction can begin. For more information, please contact the City of Albany’s Department of Development and Planning at 434-2532.