A state of emergency was declared in Albany Friday after a partial collapse of the Central Warehouse that prompted Amtrak to suspend its Empire and Lake Shore Limited lines west of Albany.
“Additional deterioration is significant,” said Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
Concerned about the integrity of the building, city code inspectors and engineers have been eying the building’s southerly wall for the past few months.
“There is clearly evidence that concrete is falling and is dropping very close to the tracks,” Sheehan said.
It’s an important section of tracks that support Amtrak service west of Albany.
“We provided that report to Amtrak,” Sheehan said. “They have suspended the use of this track.”
A statement from Amtrak said full service remains between the Rensselaer train station and New York City, but the temporary suspension west of Albany stems from concerns regarding "a non-Amtrak, privately-owned building located near the tracks." City officials later said that the Central Warehouse suffered a partial collapse on the southerly wall. A structural engineering report, according to a City of Albany news release, said a collapse of portions of the wall is "imminent."
NEW: City officials in Albany say there has been a partial collapse at the Central Warehouse. It’s on the southerly wall which has forced @Amtrak to suspend service traveling west. A drone is in the air inspecting damage now.@SpecNews1Albany pic.twitter.com/1QAl6Yl99b— Spencer Conlin (@SpencerReports) July 29, 2022
The mayor said Amtrak is coordinating a bus route to bridge the gap between its stations in Schenectady and Rensselaer.
Sheehan said this is added frustration to a longstanding issue for both the city and Albany County.
“There is a developer who stands ready to redevelop this property and we have an owner who clearly is not taking care of the building,” she said.
Spectrum News 1 contacted an attorney representing the owner of the building, Evan Blum, Friday, but have yet to hear back from them.
Sheehan said he has 10 days to respond to the city’s notifications.
“We will do whatever it takes to get a safe situation here,” Sheehan said.
The mayor said that involves figuring out how to secure the wall while protecting the tracks below.
“And then we will send a bill to the owner,” she said.