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Parish Center planned to replace abandoned building

February 19, 2015

by Paige DeSorbo

A new 11,000-square-foot parish center will replace an old building on Western Avenue owned by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church that has been the subject of some controversy in recent years.

The city Planning Board Thursday approved a request to demolish the building at 472 Western Ave. The building was previous used by Catholic Charities as transitional housing but since 2011 it has been mainly used for storage.

The  2,400-square -foot residential structure next to St. Andrews Episcopal Church at 10 North Main Ave will be replaced by a parish center.

Previous plans of building a parking lot were rejected by the community as well as the Albany Historic Register. The plan for a gathering center has been more positively received.

The church plans to rebuild an 11,000- square-foot two story parish hall including an elevator for more access. The new space will provide an area for church gatherings, events, and dinners.

Sandra Fox and Tracy Abbott Planning Board members/Paige DeSorbo

Sandra Fox and Tracy Abbott Planning Board members/Paige DeSorbo

Construction is expected to begin after the church submits requests for building permits from the appropriate city agencies.

Funding for the project will come from an endowment as well as congregation donations. They are currently forging on with a capital campaign to raise funds for the construction, according to Kristen Pratt  a lawyer from Young and Sommer LLC, a representative of St. Andrews.

“The church has already received the necessary variant permits that were required and this was the last step to be able to begin the process,” said Pratt.

Planning Board member Sandra Fox asked if the church had any plans of fixing up the actual church but no plans have been made other than at the 472 Western Ave. site.

The board approved the request for construction 6-0. City planner Bradley Glass had a few concerns about the financial resources the church would need to complete its plan.

“To lose a property with such character is controversial in the city,” said Glass.

The demolition is contingent on the church retrieving any salvageable items from the building in compliance with a directive from Historic Albany Foundation.

“I don’t really have an opinion on the church construction as long as it can be finished,” said Pratt. -30-

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