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logoWhat is CARA?

The Albany City Council established the Central Albany Revitalization Area (CARA) in the summer of 2001 following a series of public forums held in the fall and winter of 2000-2001. CARA contains 919 acres or 9.7 percent of the total acreage of Albany. It includes the traditional city core area, known as Central Albany, with surrounding neighborhoods and areas of mixed commercial and industrial uses to the south and east.

The CARA Plan is aimed at alleviating blighting conditions in the area. New development is expected to occur primarily as infill with commercial and light industrial uses on small lots, and limited residential uses through redevelopment of existing residential areas.

Carrying out the CARA plan will require tax increment revenue. Tax increment financing may affect the property tax revenues and bond tax rates of other taxing bodies, but the effort is expected to be good for Albany.

Increasing economic vitality, encouraging the use of vacant and underused land and rehabilitating structures will increase property values both in CARA and the City of Albany. Spending tax increment funds is expected to produce new property values, with total value growth in the renewal area over the duration of the plan expected to be $230 million. When the project is completed, the values will be returned to the tax rolls, and the various taxing bodies that share values in Albany will receive an increase in tax collections.

Organizational Structure

The City Council serves as the Albany Revitalization Agency. They also serve, along with an appointed counterpart member on the CARA Advisory Board. Advisory Board members generally live or own property or businesses in the Central Albany area.

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Area Map

General Boundary: Willamette River on the north, Elm Street area on the west, Queen and Pacific/9th couplet area on the south, Geary Street on the east. We have a CARA Boundary Map available for you to download.

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CARA Report & Plan

Goals & Objectives

CARA Goal: To revitalize the Central Albany Revitalization Area by implementing the Town Center Plan developed through the Central Albany Land Use & Transportation Study (CALUTS) using a citizen-driven process.

CARA Key Objectives:

  • Attract new private investment to the area.
  • Retain and enhance the value of existing private investment and public investment in the area.

CARA Additional Objectives:

  • Provide a safe and convenient transportation network that encourages pedestrian and bicycle access to and within the town center.
  • Preserve the Historic Districts, historic resources and existing housing in the area.
  • Create a readily identifiable core that is unique and vibrant with a mixture of entertainment, housing, specialty shops, offices, and other commercial uses.
  • Increase residential density in the area.
  • Encourage the development of new forms of housing and home ownership.
  • Enhance and protect the community and environmental values of waterway corridors in the area.
  • Provide an enriching environment and livable neighborhoods.

CARA Programs

Architectural Assistance Grant
(Initial Consultation Visit)

Interior or exterior projects anywhere in the CARA boundary, preference for historic buildings.

Focus Area Loan Program
($15,000 – up to 20% of project)

Competitive, available for commercial or mixed-use property in three focus areas (downtown, east waterfront, or east Salem Avenue neighborhood area). Funding for historic preservation, including storefronts/façade improvement; upper floor redevelopment; or new construction for a residential/mixed use project.

Historic Home Buyer Loan Program
($8,000 - $20,000)

Rehabilitation funds to incent purchase of severely blighted historic homes in the Hackleman Historic District.

Storefront Revitalization Grant
($2,500 - $10,000)

Exterior projects with significant aesthetic improvement. Properties must have the following zoning: HD, CB, LE, MS. Examples include awnings, signage, exterior lighting, associated city fees, and storefront improvements

Small Grants
($1,250 - $5,000)

Exterior projects with significant aesthetic improvement anywhere in CARA. [February]

Economic Development Project Loans

Funding for job-creating projects in CARA. Details to be determined.

Liaison to City

Assistance to owners, prospective owners, and tenants. CARA provides information and connections to city resources such as a free walk-through of buildings by City Building Divisions, CARA Assistance, and City Reviews.

Design Review

CARA projects are subject to design review and approval against the ARA Design Guidelines.