Central Warehouse owner says city-imposed deadlines aren’t long enough for needed repairs

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The owner of the Central Warehouse in Albany did not meet the first few deadlines to make repairs ordered by the city. Now, he is explaining why.

It’s part of a laundry list of renovations and reconstructions ordered of him after the unsafety of the building forced the city to declare a state of emergency over the summer.

Evan Blum said they are fictitious deadlines. The city gave him about a month to make the first few repairs, because they are considered to be a public safety hazard.

The immediate fix-ups had to be done Friday, Sept. 16. That included making the roof, windows, and doors weather tight, as well as removing garbage and graffiti from the dilapidated building.

Blum was told to address the immediate code violations on the property after Amtrak temporarily halted services in July, because pieces of the building started to fall onto the tracks.

He said there is a lot of work that goes into repairing something as big as that building, and 30 days is not enough.

“Nobody on this planet can possibly do that in 30 days. It is impossible. Why start something that you know you can’t finish?”

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The city of Albany’s building’s director, Rick LaJoy, said if Blum decides to comply, the department is willing to work with him immediately. We told Blum about this. This was his response:

“It’s something I wanted to do all along, but those guys [City of Albany] have been harassing me and holding me up and delaying me and making all kinds of problems for me,” Blum said. “On the other hand, the [Albany] county is trying to take the building away. Why should I improve the building for someone who’s going to take it away?”

LaJoy said he’s working with the city’s legal department to discuss the next steps. Which most likely means the city will have to do the work that was required of Blum.