By Henry Fisher | August 22, 2022
On Aug. 14, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s State of Emergency concluded, as did the reinforcement construction on Albany’s Central Warehouse. The construction was in response to perceived threats to public safety by the crumbling building – which led to the brief closure of the Amtrak line near the Central Warehouse.
143 Montgomery St, also known as the Central Warehouse Cold Storage Building
Photo Credit: Henry Fisher
The recent issues with the warehouse and its owner, Evan Blum, have been a part of a long chain of events caused by the structure. According to WRGB, last year “Albany County attempted to take possession of it from the building’s owner….”
This was followed by two lawsuits by Blum, who claimed that Albany County did not follow proper procedures in the attempted procedure.
Concerning this, and the recent events leading to the Amtrak closure, Albany County Executive McCoy said that, “For over a year now, Blum has repeatedly attempted to use the courts to disingenuously prevent the transfer of title to the Central Warehouse to Albany County and ultimately tied our hands in this regard.”
Blum, the building’s owner, said “I bought the building to expand the business, create 350 jobs, I need the space badly and they tried very hard to take the building away from me.”
According to the Times Union, “The city declared a state of emergency on [July 29] due to falling pieces of concrete from the side of the building.”
Chief of Staff to Mayor Sheehan, David Galin, announces the State of Emergency
Photo Credit: David Galin / @db_galin
The maintenance was managed by the City of Albany itself, which used the State of Emergency to mitigate the dangers of the building.
During these emergency repairs, Mayor Sheehan stated, “...our number one priority has been to safeguard the public, and get rail service back on track. Thanks to the hard work of our Director of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance, as well as our contractors, we achieved that goal.”
While the track was only closed for four days, it represents another major disruption caused by the legal battle for the Central Warehouse.
“What we are seeing with respect to safety concerns at the Central Warehouse and the temporary suspension of Amtrak service is a real world consequence of ongoing frivolous litigation carried out by the owner…” said McCoy.
Mayor Sheehan’s tweet concerning the repairs needed for the Central Warehouse
Photo Credit: Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan / @MayorSheehan
Regarding the maintenance of the Central Warehouse, Blum said, “Who would really want to go crazy fixing something if you don’t know if you own it, you pay the taxes and they say you didn’t mail it and then they take it from you, and you pay all this money, for what?”
With the danger subsiding from the structure itself, focus has returned to the legal battle for the building.
“This endeavor has made it crystal clear that the ongoing neglect by the building's owner, Evan Blum, is not only impacting our city, but commerce across the northeast,” said Mayor Sheehan. “We will bill the owner of Central Warehouse for the costs associated with mitigating this threat to public safety, and urge him to take the necessary steps to prevent something similar from occurring in the future. If Evan Blum refuses to act, the City of Albany will not hesitate to once again step in and protect our residents and businesses to the fullest extent of the law.”