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Governor Cuomo Announces $22 Million to Support Revitalization Projects in Downtown Albany and Surrounding Communities

Posted by GCAR on May 17, 2019
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $22 million in state funding to support two transformational projects in Downtown Albany. Empire State Development will provide up to $15 million to Capitalize Albany to create a mixed-use neighborhood in Liberty Park, a site formerly selected as the location for Albany’s convention center. ESD will also provide up to $7.3 million to Capital District Transit Authority to support construction of its Bus Rapid Transit Line. Additionally, Governor Cuomo announced a new task force of state and local economic development and transportation stakeholders to study the potential for a new intermodal center on the property adjacent to Liberty Park that would support both projects.

“Growing our downtown communities requires investments that support the creation of vibrant, walkable cities and invite people and businesses to establish roots and flourish,” Governor Cuomo said. “These projects will further that goal by encouraging the redevelopment of an underused property in a prime Downtown Albany location, while also advancing the region’s mass transit opportunities, spurring economic growth for the entire region.”

“This funding will support projects to redevelop areas of downtown and continue economic development efforts in Albany,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “These projects build on our investments in the city as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative to reinvigorate neighborhoods, enhance quality of life, and improve transportation for residents.”

Liberty Park Redevelopment
Capitalize Albany, a non-profit corporation serving as the City of Albany’s economic development arm, will receive up to $15 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative funds and ESD grants to initiate the redevelopment of Liberty Park. The proposed project on the eight-acre site will ultimately create a mixed-use neighborhood in the heart of the Capital City, attracting new investment that generates economic growth and encourages sustainable economic development within the site and neighboring communities. An ESD feasibility study in 2017 generated two similar concepts identifying large-scale mixed-use developments primarily focused on residential and entertainment uses with approximately $130 million in development potential.

This funding will support the acquisition, demolition, stabilization and renovation of property; infrastructure and public space improvements; design, planning, and engineering costs; and early redevelopment expenses, enabling Capitalize Albany to obtain site control and facilitate the planning process for public infrastructure improvements and further private redevelopment. The proposed redevelopment plan will strengthen existing links to the Hudson River and the Pastures Neighborhood while promoting a live, work and play environment anchored by walkable streets and greenspace.

CDTA Bus Rapid Transit line
The governor also announced that up to $7.3 million from the Capital Region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative fund has been awarded to Capital District Transit Authority to support construction of its Bus Rapid Transit Line. The BusPlus Blue Line will run north-south along the Hudson River and provide faster service and an enhanced travel experience between cities and villages including Albany, Menands, Watervliet, Troy, Cohoes, and Waterford. The project includes building a transit center in downtown Troy as well as components of another line, the BusPlus Purple Line, at the University at Albany’s Downtown Campus. These projects will connect people to jobs, school and essential services that would otherwise be out of reach. It will also support redevelopment efforts in our downtowns and urban neighborhoods surrounding Bus Rapid Transit stations by making these areas more accessible to the larger region. A Bus Rapid Transit map featuring the blue line is available here.

Intermodal Center Task Force
Governor Cuomo also announced the creation of a task force, comprised of state and local stakeholders in economic development and transportation, to study the development of a new intermodal center adjacent to the Liberty Park project site. The center would act as a hub for CDTA’s Bus Rapid Transit lines and builds on the Governor’s investments to improve transportation and connectivity in the Capital Region and redevelopment of the region’s urban cores.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Our strategic investments in projects like these – creating mixed-use developments and offering better access to transit – are revitalizing city centers and communities around New York State.” 

Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn M. Destito said, “As the seat of New York State government it is critical to foster the positive perception and advance real growth for the core of downtown Albany. With this announcement, Governor Cuomo is leveraging the investments and improvements OGS has made to the Empire State Plaza and Convention Center, and the inarguable success of the Albany Capital Center, to continue the momentum with substantive neighborhood revitalization and transportation resources for New York’s capital city. We look forward to continuing work with our always constructive partners at the City of Albany, Capitalize Albany and CDTA.”

Capitalize Albany Corporation President Sarah Reginelli said, “This announcement marks the start of a new era for the Capital City’s downtown core thanks to the support of Governor Cuomo, ESD and the Regional Economic Development Council. The URI award will allow this eight-acre site to be poised for redevelopment success at a time of unprecedented opportunity for Albany. On behalf of our Board, I am grateful to the Governor and look forward to working with the many partners in the Capital Region that share the vision for Liberty Park’s incredible potential as we maximize the site’s positive impact and achieve its highest and best use.”

CDTA CEO Carm Basile said, “The announcement of $7.3 million for the construction of the Bus Rapid Transit line and the creation of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Intermodal Center Task Force is great news for the Capital Region. Both initiatives will go a long way in improving transit in the area, while also strengthening the connections between our various downtowns and neighborhoods. People will have an easier time getting to work, school, or appointments, and it will provide access to the many attractions located in our cities and towns. We’re excited and optimistic about the future of transportation in the region.”

Capital Region Economic Development Council Co-Chair and KeyBank Market President Ruth Mahoney said, “On behalf of the entire CREDC, we proudly support these projects in Downtown Albany and neighboring communities that will encourage new investments and generate sustainable economic growth.”

Albany Convention Center Authority Board Chair Megan Daly said, “This is tremendous momentum for the future development of Liberty Park and exactly what the Albany Convention Center Authority Board has been working toward through the partnership with Capitalize Albany Corporation on this land. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and the state and local partners who are demonstrating inspired leadership in economic development through today’s announcement.”

Senator Neil Breslin said, “These investments will not only make Downtown Albany more accessible, but they will help to breathe new life into an underutilized property and invite more people to live, work and play in our Capital City. I thank Governor Cuomo, Empire State Development and our community partners for their commitment to working together to build and support revitalization efforts in the area.”

Assembly Member Patricia Fahy said, “These two investments in downtown Albany have been long awaited and will provide the essential funding to launch the revitalization of a critical corridor and entryway into the city. The bus route will create a transportation hub for the entire region and I commend the CDTA for its vision. Smart investments in urban cores such as downtown Albany stimulates further economic growth and community development, and could help lay the groundwork for Albany’s newest neighborhood. These projects lay the foundation for a more accessible city for families, businesses, and visitors. I thank the Governor for investing in Albany’s future.”

Assembly Member John T. McDonald III said, “The redevelopment of Liberty Park and support for the Bus Rapid Transit blue line will have a positive impact on economic development throughout the Capital Region. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for making this investment and Capitalize Albany and CDTA for their work on these efforts. I look forward to seeing the progress on these projects and will continue working with all of our partners to advance them.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “This transformative redevelopment is essential to the continued revitalization of Downtown Albany. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for helping support this multi-faceted project that will lead to a significant expansion in the number of residential, commercial, and retail opportunities available in Downtown Albany and further leverages the impact of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.”

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