The period after World War II witnessed major changes in the American landscape as a result of the proliferation of automobile ownership. One of the earliest changes was the way in which autos were sold, and this point was not lost on Central Avenue. Smaller dealerships closed, and those that survived moved from showrooms on lower Central to large open-air lots west of Allen Street. With the suburbanization of the residential population and the demand for parking near shopping, the shopping center came into vogue. Not surprisingly, the first shopping center in the capital District was located along Central Avenue, directly opposite a car dealership that had moved up from the lower end of the street in the late 1940s.
Westgate Shopping Center
Westgate Shopping Center, constructed in 1957, was the first such center in the Albany area. Although many of its original stores (W.T.Grant, J.C. Penney, Albany Public Market, among others) have departed, the center retains its original colossal sign and some detailing, as well as the open character typical of shopping centers of the period.
It is scheduled to undergo rehabilitation in the near future.
Grand opening ad from 1957.