Updated 08/09/2012 04:59 PM
Mayor defends downtown Albany as Jillian's plans to close
Albany business owners spoke out after recent criticisms that the city is not doing enough for businesses downtown. Lori Chung has more.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- With one landmark leaving downtown, Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings is defending the area.
This weekend we learned Jillian's is closing for good, with ownership citing crime issues at night. Thursday morning, the mayor acknowledged challenges but touted downtown improvements over the past year.
The mayor said the downtown apartment occupancy rate is 97 percent, and the police chief said crime is down 50 to 60 percent this year. However, those who run Jillian's say they're concerned that there aren't enough police officers downtown after dark for crowd control.
Owner Ralph Spillenger said he is selling the property and plans to sell the Bayou Cafe as well.
Mayor Jennings said, "There are a lot of stories that are good. I think that maybe people should take a step back and say, you know what, we do have a lot to be proud of. We do have challenges. How are we going to confront those challenges? And that means we have to work together."
Jillian's manager Shane Spillenger said, "My father's concerns were what happens on the street after it gets dark. That was what we were concerned with, and no one up there represents anybody from that demographic."
Jillian's is being sold for $1.6 million.