December 15, 2011

Meeting Held On Nanocollege Plan For Kiernan Plaza

By: Chris Churchill, Staff Writer

Source: Times Union

The plan to turn Albany’s landmark former train station into incubator space for the NanoCollege is still being discussed, despite the state’s decision not to fund a $4 million request for the project.

Representatives from the city and the College of NanoScale Science and Engineering met Tuesday with the downstate owners of the building at 575 Broadway in Albany, but are being tight-lipped about what, specifically, was discussed.

NanoCollege spokesman Steve Janack said the school “appreciated the opportunity to have a dialogue” about Union Station, now known as Kiernan Plaza. He added that the College remains committed to having a downtown presence.

Mike Yevoli, the commissioner of planning and economic development in Albany, declined to discuss the meeting, though he said the city is working hard to find a use for a building that’s been vacant since Bank of America departed early in 2010.

“It’s a top priority,” Yevoli said. “It’s a significant, integral part of the fabric of downtown.”

The NanoCollege in November floated the possibility of a Kiernan Plaza incubator. The plan calls for a fund to buy and retrofit the train station, which would be owned by Capitalize Albany, the city’s economic development arm.

State support for the incubator was requested by the Capital Region Economic Development Council plan submitted to the state, but it was not among the projects that received money.

“We need the $4 million as an anchor,” Alain Kaloyeros, chief executive at the NanoCollege, said in November, later adding that “the concept is to basically take a landmark and keep it a landmark, while turning the inside into a hub for innovation and business development.”

Union Station opened to passenger travel in 1900. The building is owned by Gramercy Capital Corp., a REIT out of New York City.