Lost: Albany Hotel
By Angela Serratore | Online Only | Apr. 9, 2009
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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