ALBANY (July 11, 2016) – The Albany County Legislature voted Monday to revitalize the county-owned Times Union Center with a new, enclosed atrium that will bring bright, digital displays to the arena’s front entrance on South Pearl Street, new interior space in the rear, and several needed improvements.
Legislators awarded six work contracts to completely redesign the building’s front facade and remodel its entrance with a centerpiece fountain, or vertical sheet of water; enclose the site’s rear courtyard near the parking garage with a warm, sky-lit inside space; expand the mezzanine level by 2,800 usable square feet; and reconfigure/reconstruct the arena’s stairs, sidewalks, escalators and elevators.
Work on the project could start as soon as next month, pending approval from the county executive. It would be completed in two phases in concert with the separate, but related Albany Convention Center being built blocks away, Democratic Majority Leader Frank Commisso said. The project should not affect county property taxes.
“We anticipate paying for this project through arena profits and hotel occupancy taxes,” Commisso said. “This project will help us continue to attract the best acts and sporting events to downtown.”
The county selected companies that submitted the lowest, responsive bids to perform different parts of the project, said Sean Ward, chairman of the legislature. They are: Murnane Building Contractors, which will undertake general construction work for no more than $14.2 million; DiGesare Mechanical will handle mechanical and plumbing construction for a combined total of $3 million; Condor Fire Sprinkler Co., for $312,500; DakTronics, Inc., for digital display boards, $803,500; and Coghlin Electrical Contractors, $1.3 million.
Builders could complete construction on the rear – or north – part of the facility by next spring, and the front by late fall of 2017. A barrier will be built in front of the arena to complete the second phase of work, but the Times Union Center should remain open during all the renovations. The project also includes installing a sprinkler system, new fire alarms and more.
“This project invests in a major taxpayer asset, one that brings people to downtown Albany,” Chairman Sean Ward said.