Park South Urban Renewal Plan
Capitalize Albany CorporationThe City of Albany’s Park South neighborhood is a nine-block area between the City of Albany’s University Heights and Washington Park, composed of approximately 26 acres. The neighborhood is home to 2,000 residents. It connects the Capital City’s downtown and the state’s capitol to Albany Medical Center (AMC)- as well as the regional V.A. Hospital, Albany Medical College, Albany Law School, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Sage Colleges. More than 10,000 employees and thousands of students are working around the clock within two blocks daily.
Albany’s Park South neighborhood has a small footprint, but a huge impact on the City of Albany. Several years ago the neighborhood experienced a period of unmatched disinvestment, dramatically declining quality of life and escalating public safety issues. The neighborhood was literally collapsing. The City of Albany’s common council and other local leaders took an unprecedented step in 2006 declaring the area an Urban Renewal District and worked with the community to create a parcel-by-parcel revitalization plan, the Park South Urban Renewal Plan.
2016 marks the Park South Urban Renewal Plan’s sunset and a decades’ worth of implementation, more than $600 million of investment is taking shape and this beloved neighborhood has been completely transformed. Overall the Plan was designed to create a vibrant and healthy mixed-use and mixed-income urban neighborhood that seeks to reinforce the existing and historical fabric, density and diversity while enabling new mixed-use development opportunities. The Plan has fulfilled each of its stated goals, reducing crime, removing blight and catalyzing investment that has established Park South as an inclusive neighborhood of choice. The Plan’s most vital investments were made by multiple developers including WinnCompanies, Columbia Development, Tri-City Rentals and the neighborhood’s anchor institutions. The Capital District Transportation Authority assisted with transit improvements and a universal ridership passes for local employees and residents. Implementation began with a $12 million historic rehabilitation of 18 row-homes along Albany’s Knox Street. The 62 sub-standard units were transformed into 47 spacious and affordable apartments using low income and historic tax credits. New Scotland Avenue’s rehabilitation was the next major project implemented which catalyzed commercial opportunities along this regional corridor. A $26 million mixed-use public-private partnership created 120,000 SF of new office and retail space, expanding amenities available to residents and AMC’s 7,000 employees. That investment provided confidence to AMC to move forward with its $360 million expansion as well as a $110 million project encompassing 268 apartments, a 134,000 SF medical office building, an 816-space parking garage, and a mixed-use building with 12,450 SF of ground-floor retail space. These results have been bolstered by millions of dollars of investment made by individual property owners, major streetscape improvements and a renewed sense of community.