Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan receives International Downtown Association’s 2016 Award of Excellence
ALBANY—During its 62nd Annual Conference and Tradeshow in Atlanta on Sept. 8, the International Downtown Association (IDA) recognized Capitalize Albany Corporation (CAC) and the Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan and awarded them its Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence.
The Award of Excellence is a new category meant to acknowledge innovative best practice entries which were uniquely strong and therefore exceed IDA’s traditional Certificate of Merit status. The Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan was among five qualified entries in the category of Planning, which recognizes planning efforts that establish a strategic position for downtown with elements of the plan having already been approved, ratified, or implemented.
“Capitalize Albany Corporation’s project received the IDA Award of Excellence for conducting innovative best practice work in the industry of urban place management,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan is a shining example of excellent downtown management delivering real value to the city.”
“Downtown is seeing unprecedented growth with more than $250 million of investment supported by the Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan currently under way,” said Capitalize Albany Corporation president Sarah Reginelli. “Impact Downtown is a powerful example of what can be accomplished through a collective impact approach and we are pleased to see the plan recognized on a global-scale. More than three dozen key stakeholders came together to support the creation of the plan and dozens more corporations, organizations and individuals have committed to help implement its recommendations.”
The Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan’s Playbook can be found at www.capitalizealbany.com/impact-downtown. It is currently acting as a guide for local redevelopment and reinvestment in a manner that meets the needs of residents, businesses and other stakeholders. Transformation and activity, pursuant to the strategic plan, is already underway in parts of downtown Albany.
Tactical Impact Downtown Albany initiatives—such as Pop-Place programming (offering pop-up retail space opportunities for local businesses), engaging in collaborative partnerships to increase business and retail recruitment, developing new retail grant programs, and enhanced collaboration and colocation with the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District—are advancing the downtown’s retail market potential, according to CAC. In the past 12 months alone 20 new retailers or retail-related services have been welcomed to downtown including downtown’s first grocery, the Steuben Street Market, which sits on the ground floor of former obsolete class C office space converted into 29 market-rate residential units.
In March of this year, CAC continued implementation of Impact Downtown’s retail recommendations and launched two grant programs designed to advance retail market growth and provide opportunities for downtown’s existing retailers. The Downtown Albany Retail Grant Program can provide funding for interior or exterior space improvements for new downtown Albany retailers. Capitalize Albany’s Amplify Albany Grant Program provides resources to incentivize and fund pop-up programming and events in Albany’s various commercial districts which will build new retail interest, buzz and create new opportunities for existing Albany businesses.
Downtown’s adjacent warehouse district was also an important focus area in Impact Downtown Albany as a critical complement to the momentum driving growth in the downtown core. Its access to the Hudson riverfront, availability of vacant warehouse space, and “eclectic mix” of businesses make it attractive for investment. The district has new commercial development taking shape with more than $90 million of project activity, announced since release of the strategic plan, with a focus on blending the mix of commercial, residential and the district’s manufacturing history. 960 Broadway is set to become the district’s first mixed-use project underway with ground floor restaurant space and upper floor market-rate apartments.
The plan was developed by CAC and a six-firm consultant team led by Goody Clancy, with substantial input from local stakeholders. Between November 2013 and November 2014, more than two dozen workshops, events and public meetings were held with residents, community leaders and downtown stakeholders to gather feedback and present research findings. The planning phase culminated with a roll-out of the Impact Downtown Albany Briefing Booklet and targeted workshops with specialized stakeholder groups to outline their role in implementation.
More on the strategy’s implementation updates can be found at http://capitalizealbany.com/news-events/category/featured-topics/impact-downtown-albany/
More than three dozen strategy partners contributed to the plan. A full list can be found at: http://capitalizealbany.com/impact-downtown-albany-strategy-partners/