Restaurant owner shares memories of Wellington Annex

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wellington annex
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Updated: 8/21 2:44 pm
ALBANY, N.Y. – The Wellington Annex in downtown Albany is getting a few more days of life before it is set to come crashing down Saturday morning. 

The implosion was supposed to take place on Thursday, but the date was moved due to scheduling conflicts with the Maryland-based “Controlled Demolition Incorporated.” 

The Wellington Annex dates back to the 1920s, serving as part of the Wellington Hotel on State Street. 

Since Salvatore Tarrzia moved to American from Italy in 1960, the Wellington Annex has been apart of his backyard. He says that when it was once a political hotbed, he got to meet the greats.

“I seen all kinds of legislatures there. I see Rockefellers, Kerry, Cuomo,” said Tarzia, owner of Amo La Bella New York.

Before Tarzia opening his restaurant in 1980, his father owned a restaurant next door. He explains that when politicians can to town, many of them stayed at the Wellington Annex, but not before visiting him and his father for a late night snack.

“When they had to pass the budget, they call, and they say ‘Dominic can you wait for us, I say sure, no problem, 11 o'clock the place gets filled,” said Tarzia.

The hotel turned into student housing in the 1980s but has since been abandoned. The owners, Columbia Development, will finally tear it down, something that Tarzia agrees with.

“It had to happen, to make way for new things,” he said.

Although there is history behind it, the developers say it is time to let the building go. The owners sold the land to the Albany Convention Center Authority for $4 million to make way for new the convention center.  

“If you were to walk in on any one of our shop floors, where we've loaded explosives all you would see is floor slab and ceiling,” said implosion project coordinator Jim Santoro.

Santoro says those in downtown Albany can expect to hear two sets of eight loud bangs, with just enough dynamite to make the floor above it drop. 

Those wanting to get a glimpse of the implosion might be disappointed, the demolition crew says it'll only take about 15 seconds to come down and they are asking the public to stay home.

“The safety perimeter here actually does not give very many viewing opportunities, were hoping the media will cover it, and that people can see it on TV,” said implosion project coordinator Jim Santoro.
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