20 Years of Serving the Downtown Community

20 Years of Serving the Downtown Community


The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) celebrated 20 years of serving the Downtown community at its Annual Meeting held June 1 at the Palace Theatre. The event served to commemorate the District’s transformation, announce the Board’s new Board Members and Officers, and brought together current and former BID Board and staff members, property and business owners, and elected officials. The new slate of Officers include: Rich Rosen from Columbia Development Companies as Chairman, Jim Hart of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management as Vice Chairman, Jeffrey Gordon of Gordon Companies as Secretary, and Dan Fariello of Capital Bank as Treasurer. New Board Members include: Meghan Barkley of Aeon Nexus, Tracy Metzger of TL Metzger & Associates, David Sarraf of Fairbank Properties, and Pamela Nichols of O'Connell & Aronowitz.

“When you have a Downtown that’s growing as fast as ours, it’s important to have a quality partner that can work with all involved, and for the City of Albany that partner is the Downtown BID,” said Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “This collaboration is critically important, helping the public and private sector to come together to make healthy investments that benefit not just our Downtown, but the entire City.” 

From its inception, the BID has held the mantra of “Clean & Safe,” with the implementation of those initiatives including purchasing bicycles for beat officers, and a Clean Team that has removed over 2 million gallons of trash and spread approximately 20,000 lbs of calcium chloride onto icy sidewalks during 100,000 logged man hours.

Over the course of two decades, and $1 billion in commercial investment, the area has gone through a renaissance to become Albany’s newest neighborhood. To date, 790 market-rate residential units have been created with another 111 units coming online this summer, and the conversion of 230 residential units currently in development. Ranging from college students to baby boomers and empty nesters, those who are choosing to live Downtown have access to world-class dining and entertainment, and are steps from access to the waterfront thanks to the construction of a pedestrian bridge over I-787 and the $10 million renovation of the Corning Riverfront Park.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who delivered the keynote address, spoke of the importance of downtowns saying “Organizations like the BID are so important to help pull people together, to give people who’ve lived here all their lives and the newcomers you want to welcome with open arms, to say yes there is a sense of place, of character, of identity. This is that charm you get in downtowns. Those who were the true believers 20 years ago are finally able to see the fruition of that faith that you can bring your community.”

“The renaissance our District has seen over the past 20 years has been remarkable, and the BID is thrilled to have been a partner in the transformation,” said Georgette Steffens, executive director of the Downtown Albany BID. “It is through the efforts of the BID, the City, the State, and property and business owners working in collaboration that so much has been accomplished. Over two decades to go from an area where the primary concern was Clean & Safe to one where thousands of people will reside is an incredible achievement and testament to those who’ve invested in our District, and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years bring.”

Learn more about investment in the BID and the Annual Meeting.