Albany building dating back to the 1800’s at risk of collapsing, demolition expected

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – One of the oldest buildings in the city of Albany is at risk of collapsing and is set to be demolished.

A chain link fence blocked off Hudson Avenue Tuesday night because a 200-year-old building is crumbling on the inside and outside. Officials said it cannot be saved.

It started with a long, deep crack, busted out windows, and debris on the ground – a clear indication that the floors of the 19th Century building had given way.

“The building that is at 50 [Hudson Avenue] is going to have to come down,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.

The building dates back to around 1800. A silhouette on its side was once an adjoined home. The outline of the original Federal-style structure can be found underneath. The building was “Victorianized” with another exterior and a third floor addition during the 20th Century.

Sheehan said the building that’s in danger of collapse will be taken down with surgical precision so as not to damage the adjoining building.

“It’s an original Dutch building,” Albany Historic Foundation Executive Director Susan Holland said. “It’s very unique. It doesn’t look it on the outside, but on the inside it is.”

The Albany Historic Foundation owns 48 Hudson, the oldest building in the city. Holland hopes it can be saved.

“Whenever you’re doing preservation work, you never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “There will be a careful demolition and monitoring by a lot of people.”

The building was constructed in 1728 for owner Johann VanOstrande, one of the first men brave enough to build outside the city’s stockade.

Here’s an artist’s rendering of what both houses looked like during the early 19th century:

As one building is preserved, the other is set to come crashing down. And with it, memories of its past.

“It was a speakeasy, it was a nightclub, and we bought it and turned it into a rescue mission,” Perry Jones with the Albany City Rescue Mission said.

The mission is now on Pearl Street in Albany. Jones recalled the two decades he spent helping people in the Hudson Avenue building.

“We saw more rescue mission work, homeless people, needy people, but it was a tough building,” he said.

The building that served the city of Albany and its homeless will now give way to a new chapter of history.

The building is owned by the Albany Convention Center Authority which will be handling the demolition. The authority is currently taken bids from contractors and hope the building doesn’t collapse on its own in the meantime.


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