Preservation League Announces Loan to Stabilize Albany's Former Third Precinct Police Station
$100,000 loan will preserve building in danger of demolition
PRESS AVAILABILITY - 10:00 AM - 222 North Pearl Street Albany - near Livingston Avenue
The Preservation League of New York State recently disbursed a loan from its Endangered Properties Intervention Program (EPIP) to an Albany-based building and restoration company with plans to restore the 1906 former Third Precinct Police Station in Albany.
The League's EPIP program was established with state funds to foster the revitalization and protection of historic resources and neighborhoods throughout New York. The loan will help support stabilization and pre-development site preparation for the building located at 222 North Pearl Street.
The former Third Precinct Police Station was designed by architect Walter Hunter Van Guysling in 1906. Born in Albany in 1878, he trained as a draftsman under Capitol architect Isaac Perry and was an apprentice of Marcus T. Reynolds. Some of Van Guysling's other notable Albany buildings include the Hudson River Day Line Ticket Office (1907) and the R.B. Wing Building (1913-14), both on Broadway.
The Third Precinct Police Station was designed in the Beaux-Arts style and is constructed of red brick with glazed white terra cotta ornamentation. It is part of the Clinton Avenue / North Pearl Street local historic district and the Clinton Avenue National Register Historic District.
"This former municipal building exemplifies the plight of civic structures that have been decommissioned due to consolidation or modernization of facilities," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of New York State. "This distinctive building, an anchor in its community, was bought and held for more than a decade by an owner who let it deteriorate. We are hopeful that under the ownership of Brian Parker, the former Third Precinct Police Station will once again serve a vital role on North Pearl Street and in the city of Albany."
According to the League, legislation recently signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to provide for the establishment of municipal land banks in New York State could help Albany and other cities address the problem of vacant and abandoned properties.
"Land banks provide the means for a city to take control of properties, maintain them while it holds them, stabilize them as necessary, and develop plans for their reuse," said DiLorenzo. "Land banks offer an option for owners who can't maintain a property, or who have fallen into arrears with their taxes, to donate their property rather than wait for foreclosure. The land bank gets the property sooner, while it is in better condition, and the owner can write off the value of the property on his or her income tax. Further, in Albany and other cities, many vacant and abandoned buildings are located in National Register Historic Districts and in distressed census tracts, making their owners eligible for New York's Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. Land-banking programs, coupled with preservation tax credits, provide a powerful incentive to revitalize buildings in struggling neighborhoods in Albany and many other upstate cities."
Brian Parker, the Managing Partner of Orion Enterprises, LLC, has considerable expertise in the stabilization and restoration of historic structures – some significantly older than the Third Precinct building. Parker owns and is in the process of restoring the Johannes van Ostrande - Johannes Radliff House at 48 Hudson Avenue in Albany, which dates to 1728. He also painstakingly restored the Pieter Winne House in Bethlehem, just south of Albany, built in 1723.
In addition, Orion Enterprises recently converted two multi-family buildings on the same block of North Pearl Street to market-rate apartments -- these units are fully occupied -- and also restored two buildings on Ten Broeck Place.
"The Third Precinct Police is the perfect example for how cities can partner with preservation to revitalize their downtowns," said Susan Holland, Historic Albany Foundation's Executive Director. "Albany, like many cities, suffers from vacancy and has a multitude of vacant educational, municipal and religious buildings. The Third Precinct Police Station was listed on Historic Albany's 2005 Endangered Historic Resources list in an effort to draw attention to the neglected architect-designed police station. It took the involvement of Historic Albany Foundation, the Albany Fire Department and the City of Albany's Vacant Building Court to transfer the property out of the hands of a notorious absentee landlord and stabilize the structure. Now, the building, which is eligible for the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits, is a part of the movement to transform a portion of Albany's downtown vacant buildings into prime residential real estate."
Orion Enterprises will use the $100,000 loan from the Preservation League to stabilize the Third Precinct Police Station and clear away debris, allowing planning and architectural work to be completed. The proposed re-use for the building is as a multi-unit apartment building.
This is the fifth loan from the Preservation League's EPIP program. Previous loans were made to the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum in Wayne County to preserve and restore a site with ties to the anti-slavery and women's suffrage movements of the 19th century; Newark Niagara LLC to fund stabilization and pre-development work at the historic E&B Holmes Machinery Co. complex on the Buffalo River waterfront in Buffalo; Cider Mill Friends of Open Space and Historic Preservation, Inc. to help support the purchase of the Kimlin Cider Mill and 1.8 acres of surrounding buffer land in the town of Poughkeepsie; and to The Landmarks Society of Greater Utica which purchased two endangered historic properties at 1 and 3 Rutger Park in Utica.
"The Endangered Properties Intervention Program allows the Preservation League to take action when historic buildings are threatened with disinvestment, neglect, and demolition," said DiLorenzo. "The Preservation League is proud to partner with Orion Enterprises and Brian Parker to protect and restore this unique historic structure. We know from our experience with the Ten Broeck Triangle neighborhood, just two blocks away, what a difference the efforts of committed, conscientious owners can make in a community. We are certain that the results will be an inspiration to others."
For more information on the Preservation League of New York State, please call 518-462-5658 or visit the League's website at www.preservenys.org.