Albany looking for assessment on abandoned St. Joseph’s Church, hoping for future development

State News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The City of Albany has opened a bid for contractors and engineers in an effort to stabilize the historic St. Joseph’s Church, which has been abandoned for decades.

City officials hope the work done can help lead to future development of the property.

“We want to make sure that we have the opportunity to bring it back to life,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.

Last week the city, which owns the property, put out a bid to contractors and engineers to come in to inspect, stabilize and preserve the building for potential development in the future, “We’re hopeful that we can get some creative ideas for how to reuse that building and also be able to save its historic character and fit in with the character and uses in the neighborhood,” the mayor said.

St. Joseph’s has been part of the city since the mid-1800’s, serving as a Catholic church throughout most of the 20th century.

“The church was fully desanctified and no longer used in the early ‘90s, and that’s when a lot of the deterioration really picked up speed, because no one was really there to watch it and take care of it,” said Cara Macri, the Director of Preservation Services for the Historic Albany Foundation.

The Historic Albany Foundation eventually took ownership of the property, putting in around $1 million to stabilize the structure over the course of a decade. During that time, they received numerous proposals on redeveloping the old church, including a goth bar, wallpaper museum and brewery.

“For a while, I think we had a new proposal every week,” said Macri.

Ultimately, none of the proposals panned out and ownership was transferred back to the city, which now hopes to take advantage of investments happening city-wide.

“We think now is the time for us to get people looking at that historic building again,” Sheehan explained.

A walkthrough of the property is scheduled to take place next week, with proposals due by December 21st.

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