Planning for a downtown Albany arena began in the mid-1980. Construction began in 1987 and the Knickerbocker Arena opened in 1990 with a performance by Frank Sinatra. The building hosted concerts, and minor league and collegiate sports, as well as other events. It was known at the Pepsi Arena from 1997 to 2006 when the naming rights were sold again and the venue became known as the Times Union Center.
The Albany County Civic Center Collection is an artificial collection assembled by the Department of Special Collections and Archives to document the policy decisions that went into planning what became the Knickerbocker Arena (later known as the Pepsi Arena and the Times Union Center). Most of the material in this collection was acquired from the Albany County Planning Department. A few items were acquired from other sources: The "Draft Environmental Impact Statement" of January 1985 was already in the possession of the archives; and the "Report from the County Improvements Committee," "Athletic Facilities Improvement Plan" and "Albany Civic Center" were duplicates retrieved from the records of the Office of University Advancement, the University at Albany, SUNY. The items in this collection are organized chronologically to facilitate a reading of the development of the civic center project.
The earliest item in this collection is a "financial and economic analysis for a multiuse civic center in Albany County, New York" prepared by Albany County's Improvements Committee. This report is followed by early proposals for a civic center, including those from the University at Albany, which wanted to cooperate with the county government to plan a civic center that could be used by the university and the community as a whole.
Included in this collection is a report from 1984 commissioned by the New York State Urban Development Corporation and entitled "Capital District Civic Center--Sports Arena Study--Final Report." This report was finished the year after Albany County Executive James J. Coyne appointed the Albany County Civic Center Commission to study proposals for a civic center. The report examined the feasibility of having a civic center in the Capital Region and evaluated a number of possible sites.
The collection also includes a number of environmental reports (interim, draft and final, 1984-1985) submitted to Albany County. These reports studied the previously recommended site, east of the Empire State Plaza, and reported on the environmental impact the civic center would have on the region. Different site layouts were examined as well as related problems, such as increased traffic and noise.
At the end of the collection are a few smaller items, including a 1985 market analysis for a proposed 400-room hotel to be located in the southwest quadrant of the civic center site. This proposed hotel would accommodate government and commercial clientele, as well as people attending conventions and other events at the civic center. There are individual Historic American Buildings Surveys, from 1985, for each building that would be demolished to clear way for the construction of the civic center. These surveys, which included photocopied photographs and descriptions of the buildings, were carried out to ensure that none of the buildings were of sufficient historical or architectural value to warrant their rescue. The final item in the collection is a 1988 flyer put out by Albany County announcing the ongoing construction of the civic center, its attributes and its planned developments (including a convention hotel, an additional exhibition hall, and retail and commercial office space). The Knickerbocker Arena was completed in late 1989.
There are no problems of conservation in this collection besides the acidity of the paper. The material in the folders entitled "The Capital District Civic Center--Sports Arena Study--Final Report" and "Interim Environmental Report" have already been photocopied onto acid-free paper.
Parts of this collection are officially stored by three agencies. The Albany County Hall of Records holds the environmental impact statements, the New York State Archives holds the Historical American Buildings Surveys, and the University at Albany holds copies of its own proposals for the civic center.
The collection is organized into the following boxes:
Folders within each box are arranged chronologically.
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the Albany County Planning Department on 24 February 1989. The items that were transferred were duplicates from the planning department; otherwise, photocopies were made by the archives.
Processed by: Geoffrey A. Huth in 1990-08-03.
Collection record created by: Eric R. Buist
Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.
We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.
Access to these records is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Albany County Civic Center Collection, 1984-1988. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
|1||1||Report from the County Improvements Committee||September 1976|
|1||2||Athletic Facilities Improvement Plan--The University at Albany and the Capital Region||ca. 1984|
|1||3||Albany Civic Center--State University of New York at Albany Proposal||January 1984|
|1||4||Capital District Civic Center--Sports Arena Study--Final Report||August 1984|
|1||5||Albany County Civic Center Project: Summary||October 1984|
|1||6||Interim Environmental Report||October 1984|
|1||7||Interim Environmental Report||October 1984|
|2||1||Draft Environmental Impact Statement||January 1985|
|2||2||Draft Environmental Impact Statement||January 1985|
|2||3||Draft Environmental Impact Statement||January 1985|
|2||4||Draft Environmental Impact Statement||January 1985|
|2||5||Draft Environmental Impact Statement||January 1985|
|2||6||Draft Environmental Impact Statement||January 1985|
|2||7||Final Environmental Impact Statement||May 1985|
|2||8||Market Analysis and Financial Projections for a Proposed 400-Room Hotel, Albany, New York||May 1985|
|2||9||Historic American Buildings Surveys||1986|
|2||10||Albany County Civic Center, Flyer||March 1988|