PRESERVATION GROUP LISTS BUILDINGS FACING EXTINCTION

ELIZABETH BENJAMIN Staff writer
Section: CAPITAL REGION,  Page: C6

Date: Sunday, April 16, 2000

Albany After years of teetering on the edge of extinction, the future of 111-113 State St. now seems secure. But there are many other important historic structures moldering throughout the city in need of help, preservationists say. Hoping to draw attention to the significance of these sites, the Historic Albany Foundation has released what members say will become an annual list of Albany's most endangered buildings.


``This is just a short list of some of the city's incredible architectural resources that are threatened,'' said Historic Albany Executive Director Elizabeth Griffin. ``We hope to educate people about their existence and build up some drive to save them.''


The list includes some well-known trouble spots.


St. Joseph's Church, the focal point of the Ten Broeck Triangle and the most visible element of Albany's northern skyline, has been vacant since 1994 and is in desperate need of repair.


The former School 10 on Central Avenue is at the center of a struggle between a developer who would like to demolish it and construct an Eckerd Drugs on the site and preservationists who believe the Albert Fuller-designed building is an integral part of the neighborhood and should be saved.


The State Street block from 132 to 140, which includes two turn-of-the-century hotels -- the Wellington and the Berkshire -- and the former Elks Lodge, has long been an eyesore in the shadow of the Capitol. The buildings' owner, Sebba Rockaway Ltd., has applied for a permit to demolish them.


Other buildings and blocks that made the list are almost anonymous. Several have had modern storefronts or facades attached to them over the years and don't look historic at all.


The building at 48 Hudson Ave. looks modern, but beneath 20th-century additions lies the second-oldest building in the city. This circa 1759 Dutch Colonial structure is currently home to Saul's Equipment Co. It is adjacent to a large piece of vacant property owned by developer William Bantz, who wants to build a high-tech office building/condominium/hotel complex in that part of town.


The endangered list also includes:


The Third Precinct police station on North Pearl Street, designed by Albany architect Walter Van Guysling.


A handful of vacant 19-century buildings adjacent to the former Albany Garage, on Howard Street, which was torn down to be replaced by a new state Comptroller's Office headquarters.


52-54 N. Pearl St. These buildings date to the 1800s and have significant historic architecture -- 52 is a brick town house constructed in the Queen Anne style. 54 is Albany's best example of small-scale terra-cotta facade.


The Broadway neighborhood north of Clinton Avenue. Five buildings on this block were torn down last year. Four had been individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Five wood-frame homes, circa 1850, at the intersection of Franklin and Fourth streets.


The brick Queen Anne-style mansion at 755 Madison Ave.


400 Broadway (now a bookstore). Part of ``Plaza Row'' with a late 19th-century facade across from the D & H Building.