Albany: $35 million Western Avenue apartment project halted

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The future of  a $35 million, six-story apartment building under construction on Western Avenue appears to be in jeopardy.

The general contractor is no longer on the job for developer DMG Investments, and two liens totaling nearly $5 million were filed by contractors against DMG last week, according to documents with the Albany County Clerk’s office.

DMG Investments is the U.S.-based subsidiary of a Chinese real estate firm. The company also operates Auden Albany, a student dorm on Washington Avenue.

DMG did not respond to a request for comment left with its public relations firm. The two contractors who filed the liens did not return messages left seeking comment.

The largest of the two liens was filed last week by Trinity Building and Construction Management Group for $3.65 million on a contract of more than $12 million. A second lien by B&L Wholesale Supply was filed for $1.3 million on a $2 million contract.

Rick LaJoy, head of the city’s Buildings and Regulatory Compliance department, said he was aware that work on the project at 1211 Western Ave. had stopped. The structure has only started to be built, with about a floor-and-half shell visible.

LaJoy said that he was told by DMG that the decision was made to fire the contractor over concerns about their work. LaJoy said he is working with the developer’s architect to ensure the site is secured.

Councilman Tom Hoey, who represents the area and has long opposed the project, said he still believes the project had a number of unaddressed safety concerns and that DMG should consider lowering the height of the building as a way of addressing some of the issues neighbors previously raised.

The building, called The Dakota on Western, was approved by the city Planning Board in 2019 despite opposition from neighbors. In 2020, it received a payment in lieu of taxes agreement from the city IDA as well as sales and mortgage recording tax breaks worth more than $14 million.

The project calls for 137 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments along with retail and office space near the state University at Albany. It also includes covered parking for 154 cars.

A number of company executives who had previously discussed the project — including its chief operating officer and vice president of asset management — are no longer with the company but remain featured on its website.

Source: Albany Times-Union

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