Lost: Albany Hotel


The Hotel Wellington will be demolished, but its facade will be reused in a new development on the downtown Albany, N.Y., site.

Credit: Rob Yasinsac

Demolition began last week on the Wellington Hotel in Albany, N.Y. Its marble facade will be saved, along with that of two other buildings—a small victory that represents the end of a long negotiation between a developer and preservation activists.

"While we're happy not to lose the facades, we're disappointed that more of the structures couldn't be retained and integrated into any new proposed developments," says Susan Holland, executive director of the Historic Albany Foundation, which negotiated with the local Columbia Development Companies to save the five buildings on Wellington Row.

Completed in 1905 and designed by local architect Albert Fuller, the Wellington, along with other buildings from the same time period, occupied prime space along State Street near the State Capitol, now one of the city's 18 historic districts.

Wellington Row was one of the Preservation League of New York State's "Seven to Save" sites in 2000. According to Erin Tobin, the league's regional director, the area was marked for complete demolition by its then-owner, who wanted to market the properties as a vacant lot. Although more of the National Register-listed buildings on Wellington Row could have been saved, Tobin says the compromise is a "good example of local preservation group rallying and working with a developer to try to find common consensus."

Columbia is now constructing its $65 million project, which calls for a 14-story office tower with mixed-use retail space.

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Submitted by willia, at: January 26, 2010
My great grandmother was the Head Housekeeper there in the 30's - Mary Lamont Richmond. Her daughter Bette (I was told) was an elevator operator. Does anyone know of any publish pics of the Wellington Hotel Staff???

Submitted by John at: November 14, 2009
I work for the demo company that is taking down the wellington. Let me tell you it is a real pain to save the fronts of these building also very dangerous. But yes I hate to see the old buildings go. We have been demoing alot of old turn of the century buildings as of late. Let me tell you they are built 10x better then the new stuff. Well good or bad it is a piece of albany history.

Submitted by Tommy at: April 24, 2009
Hi JVG, I am sorry if I offended you. I am only going by what I see when I go to the Palace for a show. It is always a little creepy down there. But let me say one thing, if it is getting better and your home is doing well than I apologize. I can only hope the area becomes a thriving spot. My metaphor of Holiday Inns is just an example. I really never saw much architecture in the Wellington and the condition was so poor that it was a no brainer to remove it. When they fought to renavate the old train station down at the bottom of State Street I applauded. That is a structure to save and be proud of.

Submitted by JVG at: April 23, 2009
Hey Tommy, I put a year of my life and all my equity into a building about across the St from the Palace and dont regret it one bit. I've lived there for a year and havent seen any more crackhead there then I did in front of my old Victorian on Western and Manning. In fact.....its much quiter down on the triangle and no one bothers me. As for saving Holiday Inns....yeah, they're all real architecturally significant, so we should start throwing merit plaques on them. I'd like to think you'll stop back to read this post, but you're probably just trolling.

Submitted by Tommy at: April 22, 2009
I don't see the big point on saving a hotel. What are we going to do in the future save every Holiday Inn just because it is old. Yes important people stayed there or had a business there, but that still is no reason to keep it. It was an eyesore and a big risk to keep it. Some times you just have to let it go and keep the memory. Albany is in the condition it is because we have to many old buildings that can't be torn down. Look at the area around the Palace Theatre. Wouldn't it be nice to tear down some of those old buildings that crack heads hang out in. Nope! Got to keep them because they're historic. Even though they are a menance to the streets of Albany they are still standing.

Submitted by Carole at: April 15, 2009
It seems that it is becoming harder and harder to save historic buildings in the state of New York . Two weeks ago I drove by the only greenery in Niskayuna on State Street, a 12 acre site on which the 1814 Schulyer Mansion is situated and the beautiful trees on the site were all being cut down. Here is a site whose history goes back to 1762 through the Revolutionary War, Schulyer builds his mansion on the property in 1814 and later it becomes home of the family of Gov Stanford of CA and it still could not be saved! What are NY state town 'leaders' thinking of? Once gone it is gone forever! How could you do this!

Submitted by Cindy at: April 15, 2009
We did a project for grad school based on "This Place Matters". My portion was on the Hotel Wellington. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnQ72LUUzOg

Submitted by kt at: April 10, 2009
It breaks my heart to see a building from the background of my grad school memories erased.

Submitted by Brian at: April 9, 2009
I hope its ok to post links about this historic building: http://www.historic-albany.org/news83.html http://www.lostlandmarks.org/wellingtonmain.html