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Theatre, arts park approved by ADICA

The former NAPA building, as seen from the inside in the photo above, is on the path to rehabilitation thanks to a few key votes by the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority Wednesday.

The former NAPA building, as seen from the inside in the photo above, is on the path to rehabilitation thanks to a few key votes by the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority Wednesday.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority has voted unanimously to move ahead with plans to redevelop two blighted and shuttered downtown buildings.

After hearing a lengthy presentation by Downtown Manager and ADICA CEO Aaron Blair, the board voted to allow Blair to negotiate funding for architectural and engineering documents for the renovation of the first and second floors of the Albany Theatre.

Blair said his thought is to convert the bottom floor of the theatre into various small retail kiosks while turning the upstairs portion of the building into at least four loft apartments.

Blair told the board that he’s already had numerous inquiries by businesses eager to move into the space, including local photographers, clothing retailers and even a recording studio.

“I have no doubt that once we get this building CO’d (a certificate of occupancy) it will be full,” Blair said.

Blair told the board he’s reached out to both Albany Technical College and the city’s department of Community and Economic Affairs for help in mitigating costs associated with the rehabilitation of the historic building.

As for the former NAPA parts building on Pine Avenue, the board voted on a multitude of issues dealing with the planned transformation of the facility from one of downtown’s oldest remaining structures into a shared community art park.

Given its age the building is to be tested for lead-based paint — a job the board voted to award to the low bidder, Savannah Analytical, for $700.

The board also voted to hire TW Tucker to come up with structural design drawings for the building for $3,600, which was also the low bid.

The drawings are needed, Blair said, because there is no roof on the building and the walls have to be load tested for wind to ensure they are safe for patrons.

The board also voted unanimously to spend $2,400 to have the front and back of the building painted — which will remove its trademark blue hue in favor of a more neutral color, Blair said.

Blair also said that he’d like the board to consider revamping the streetscape along that part of Pine Avenue. Ideally, he said, he’d like to put a median in the road and cull the street down to two lanes. New sidewalks could also be in the works for that portion of Pine Avenue.

In other business, the board voted to spend $7,900 with Mark’s Greenhouse to replace five dead and removed palm trees downtown, and to purchase an annual membership for the ADICA chair to be a member of the Downtown Sertoma Club.