Flats @ 249 Grows Downtown Community
ALBANY — The construction of the apartments at the Flats @ 249 in downtown Albany brought a variety of new residents — from young professionals to families — downtown and has continued to promote growth of downtown businesses. Both residents of the apartment complex and the owners and workers at downtown business say that the life and activity has changed since residents started moving into the Flats.
The Flats at 249 was developed by Pace Burt in the historic Albany Heights building and offers residents newly renovated apartments and a variety of amenities. Residents such as Joseph Crooke, who has lived in the complex since February of 2018 and was one of the first to move in, said he enjoys the experience of living downtown and everything the complex has to offer.
“It has been wonderful, I personally love downtown Albany,” Crooke said. “I was working in Americus at the time but was going to do whatever it took to move here.”
After moving into the complex, Crooke said that he recruited about 15 of his friends to move in as well, and now all 67 units are full and there is a waiting list for those wanting to move in.
“There’s a great mix of people,” Crooke said. “I would say about 40 to 50 percent are between the ages of 20 to 45, and 60 percent are working professionals.”
Crooke said that he and the other residents enjoy the amenities that the complex offers. He said some of the amenities that they enjoy include a downstairs entertainment area, a lounge area, an outdoors entertainment area, a community grill, an herb garden, a study area and more. Each apartment comes with stainless steel appliances, a washer and dryer hookup, an HDTV and renovated bathrooms. They are reasonably priced between $550 to $825 a month. On top of all the amenities Crooke said that he also feels very safe residing there.
“I would say it is one of the safest apartments in Albany,” he said. “There are 47 security cameras and every stairwell, door and elevator requires a key fob to enter.”
Residents get to enjoy the new businesses that are popping up in the downtown area and have front-row seats to watching downtown Albany grow.
“I’ve seen the daily traffic in downtown increase,” Crooke said. “Lots of the residents eat at restaurants in the area, like the Bread House and The Cookie Shoppe, and check out other businesses like Pretoria Fields.”
Many of the downtown businesses say that the traffic the residents of the apartment complex bring really encourages the growth of downtown. Julia Temples, the owner of the boutique Bandit and the Babe, said the Flats played a big role in the opening of her business.
“If the Flats weren’t here, I wouldn’t be here,” Temples said. “We share the same building, so it was the development of the Flats that allowed me to open up.”
Temples said that some people who frequent her business ask about the apartments and are surprised to hear about the variety of ages of the residents, in particular the number of young people. She said she definitely thinks the apartment is impacting her business and others.
“It makes people feel more comfortable coming downtown with all the action,” Temples said.
Femi Anderson, the owner of the Renaissance Art Cafe, said that a tenant recently stopped by to paint one Saturday and took her business cards back to the building. She said that she hopes her business will attract the interest of more people from downtown.
“Since we are open most evenings, beginning on Wednesdays, from 1 p.m. until nighttime, this will give tenants an outlet to relax, paint and spend time with their friends,” Anderson said. “We make it a party every night.”
There appears to be a community developing downtown, not just with the residents of the Flats, but with the businesses in the area as well. Business like Bandit and the Babe have partnered with the Flats to host a variety of events.
“We do different events with the owner of the Flats,” Temples said. “We partnered with them to host a pop-up farm stand with Farmer Fredo on our porch, and we also partnered with them at the end of last month to have a local band play and record a music video.”
Temples said that she has hosted a few parties at the boutique with live music on the porch, and the residents will often come down and join them. On June 21, the Flats and the boutique partnered to host a “Meet Your Neighbor” party on the porch, where residents were invited down for live music, cocktails and the chance to meet others in the complex.
Both the residents and the businesses of downtown have been encouraged by the new growth, activity and community downtown.
“It is an incredible community that lives here,” Crooke said. “And I would absolutely recommend living in the Flats.”
Article Written by: Tessa Green, Albany Herald Writer