Masthead image

The initiative has now taken on momentum of its own, indicating that the market is taking hold. As evidence, the Technical Assistance program is no longer active. Property owners or developers are taking on the risk of analysis with their own funds, no longer requiring grants to test the feasibility. Also, as much subsidy is not required as market rents are slowly proving to be able to be achieved. Other positive signs are that traditional commercial lenders are showing more appetite for becoming lending partners in these downtown residential deals. Recent lending partners in downtown residential projects include Berkshire Bank, Capital Bank, M&T and CPC. To be clear, the market is still proving itself while economic development partners continue to play an active role in offering project assistance, marketing and promotion and beginning to offer residential mixer events as more and more people live in downtown. The Zimmerman Volk report indicated that the market could support between 150-200 new units per year for 10 years. In total there are approaching 100 units in downtown and another 140 in the pipeline. Construction underway will convert approximately 165,000 square feet of existing, underutilized or vacant space in downtown to apartments. Additional building conversion or new construction project opportunities are actively in review stages throughout downtown. The initiative is yielding exciting results, and we look forward to seeing even more in downtown Albany!