How long has it taken the powers that be to make this right decision? After years of speculation and all the unnecessary expense of acquiring property, the state, city, and county have tentatively decided that the property beside Broadway in downtown Albany was not the right spot for the proposed Convention Center. Instead, the project will be re-located west to a strip of land behind those awful buildings along State Street known as “Wellington Row.” The scaled down version of the center — which it’s existence has been tossed around for more than a decade — now stands at 80,000 square feet versus the original want to be design of 300,000. The Center proposes to link both the Times Union Center, and the Empire State Plaza into it’s design. You wonder what they were thinking about all those years. The original monstrosity would have cost in the neighborhood of $220 million dollars, while the cost of the new version supposedly can be built with the remainder of the $75 million in seed money the Convention Center Authority was given up front by the state to acquire the needed property. First move: re-establish the authority’s board completely. The panel needs fresh eyes to move forward. The Authority is made up of nine members, three each from the state, city and county, which currently is missing two members who were appointed in the days of Eliot Spitzer, for god’s sake. I also wonder if it is any coincidence that the would be center is destined to sit partly on land currently owned by Columbia Development (from now on Columbia will be referred to as BBL as it is easier to type.) You might remember BBL recused itself from anything to do with the center citing a conflict of interest if it was constructed on the former Broadway site. Now, I’m not dissing BBL, as they are a quality contractor, but if there is any kind of conflict of interest, you couldn’t get any closer than this. I’ve just three words to keep in mind when it comes to BBL building something on land they own: Albany Family Courthouse. We can all remember the mess created when they built at a substantial profit the building, then leased it to the county, and didn’t have to pay a dime in taxes over the course of the lease. Then they sold it back to the county in a totally win-lose situation with BBL in the win column. The money left over to build is approximately $68 million, and all involved seem to think that it can done with that. My guess is that it can’t be built for anything close to that, mark my words. A project like this with the parties involved will be a change order fest. Let’s see what the development study brings us. It looks good on paper. Oh, and by the way. You can imagine that mayoral candidate Kathy Sheehan will be all over this. “We need a market driven approach” she said. Yeah right.……….For some background info on the previous, I went to the Times Union’s website and searched ”Albany Convention Center.” On page one, there was Zimbabwe, George Zimmerman, and Garfield; no Convention Center. I guess I was just supposed to look at the pictures.……….I really cannot believe that I’m writing about this, but the Albany County Legislature passed a motion banning fracking effluent from being used as a de-icer on the roadways in the county. I’m just sure that the municipalities will truck the waste into the county to de-ice the roads. Now is that vertical fracking or horizontal fracking waste they’re talking about. See, vertical fracking has been in use for fifty years in the state, but horizontal fracking is banned as of now.……….If you saw the picture of Corey Ellis that I found on the Ow’ly website, there would be no way that you could not vote for him on the pose alone. It kind of had a frosted look with Corey standing there, arms folder like he meant business, which included an American Flag. More to talk about, but this is already too long. More in a day or two.
And that is “The Daily Take”