July 16, 2012
By: Brian Nearing
Source: Times Union
ALBANY — The city's landmark, century-old Union Station, vacant for two
years since a bank pulled its operations, is getting new life as offices
that may help create nanotechnology to make cities run better.
Monday, the UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
announced part of the station will be home to the top leadership of the
Colonie-based CHA engineering firm, formerly known as Clough Harbour
The 100,000-square-foot station has been vacant
since 2010, when Bank of America left during the depths of the
financial recession. CHA will lease about 10,000 square feet and move 30
of its executives to the station from the company's current
headquarters, said CHA Chief Executive Officer Ray Rudolph.
provides us with exciting new opportunities to continue to expand our
services in clean-energy technology and advanced manufacturing," he
said. The move will take place by the end of the year.
NanoCollege announced an agreement with Trinity Alliance of the Capital
Region, an Albany-based, not-for-profit social services agency that
promotes inner-city education, to create nano-related education and job
training for students.
Alain Kaloyeros, senior vice president and
CEO of the NanoCollege, said partnerships with CHA and Trinity will
focus on "smart cities" technologies, including sensors and computer
chips, integrated systems and operating software to collect and analyze
data for such applications as highway conditions, infrastructure like
bridges and utilities, and security for educational settings.
involves the use of very small materials. Several dozen students from
Trinity could become part of the nanotech training program by the end of
the year, a move welcomed by JoAnn Morton, head of the South End
She said residents there are in need of
better jobs, and training in nanotechnology issues could create a
pathway to such jobs. "This a great opportunity for residents of the
South End and the entire city," Morton said.
Trinity is also
building a new $5 million academic campus, the Capital South Campus
Center, in the South End, at Philip and Warren streets, that will help
support the NanoCollege program, said Trinity CEO Harris Oberlander.
He said the nanotech training program would provide "opportunities that have historically bypassed our inner cities."
NanoCollege would hold its courses and training programs at the new
campus, at the CHA offices in Union Station and at the NanoCollege's
main facility off Fuller Road in Albany, Oberlander said.
NanoCollege is leasing Union Station from owner Gramercy Capital Corp., a
New York City-based real estate investment trust, said Kaloyeros. He
said the term of the lease, as well as the NanoCollege's lease with CHA,
were still being negotiated. The college also is negotiating with other
prospective tenants for the building, he added.
Rudolph said CHA
executives will come from the firm's headquarters on Winners Circle and
will include himself, the chief financial officer and chief operations
officer. He said the firm needs more room because it has outgrown its
He said repopulation of Albany as the urban hub of
the Capital Region is critical. "We are putting our money where our
mouth is," said Rudolph, who is the husband of former Albany City
Engineer Deirdre Rudolph.
Kaloyeros said that total investment in
the Union Station project approaches $15 million. The beaux
arts-inspired building opened in 1900 as train station, and fell into
disrepair by after closing in 1968. It was restored as the headquarters
for Norstar Bank in 1984.
Also Monday, city officials submitted
an application to support the Union Station project with eight-county
Capital Region Economic Development Council. The NanoCollege wants to
develop the station into high-technology business incubator.
this year, the state passed on a $4 million application for the
project. NanoCollege officials could not immediately indicate the amount
of funds being applied for this time.