ALBANY, NY – Dan Nolan, Albany Empire Co-owner and Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC President and CEO, was presented with the 2019 James M. DiNapoli Award at the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District’s (BID) Annual Meeting on May 22, 2019. The event, which provides an update on development in Downtown, drew community members, Stakeholders, and elected officials.
Created in 2013 in honor of founding member and inaugural Chairman of the Downtown Albany BID, the James M. DiNapoli Award is presented annually to an individual, organization, or business that exemplifies Mr. DiNapoli’s spirit of partnership and community-building in shaping the direction of downtown Albany.
Nolan was instrumental in bringing arena football to the Times Union Center for the first time in nearly 20 years. A lifelong sports fan and self-described “sandlot sports guy,” he has fond memories of attending Albany Firebirds games and was excited to be among those who brought the Albany Empire to Downtown, the result of which exceeded expectations; in 2018 the Arena Football League (AFL) team played before a sold-out home opener of over 13,600 people, with home games averaging just under 10,000 fans, easily surpassing the goal of 7,500 per game and resulting in the highest average per-game attendance in the league.
Generous to sports outside of Downtown as well, Nolan recently donated $1 million to the athletics departments of his alma mater, the University at Albany, a gift which benefits the school’s 18 varsity teams; he also Chairs the Advisory Board for the university’s Great Dane Athletic Club. In addition, Nolan sits on the Center for Disability Services Endowment Board, and is a trustee at Albany Law School and The College of Saint Rose.
With a vision for an ongoing renaissance in Downtown, Nolan is excited by the increase in residential and what he believes is a true sign of neighborhood growth – people walking dogs. It’s a trend he sees continuing through the recently announced redevelopment funding of the former Convention Center site, additional apartments coming online, merchants opening their doors, and events like Albany Empire games continuing to draw people to the heart of the Capital City.
“Downtown Albany is an important piece of the region’s puzzle and investing here is critical as we experience the suburb trend reversing itself. Wayne Gretzky didn’t skate to where the puck was, he skated to where it was going, and it is those with vision who will reap the benefits of where Downtown is one year from now,” said Nolan. “I am thankful for the opportunity to have a hand in investing in Downtown, but the Albany Empire really has been a team effort on and off the field. I am grateful for co-owners George Hearst III and Ed Swyer, for Bob Belber who shared the vision of returning arena football to Albany, for our players, cheerleaders, and staff who give their all every day, and for our incredible community that has rallied beyond our wildest dreams to support a hometown team.”
“Albany’s newest neighborhood is experiencing substantial and ongoing growth through development projects and events that attract residents and visitors, with the Albany Empire offering the opportunity to experience Downtown in a way people haven’t been able to in nearly two decades,” said Georgette Steffens, Downtown Albany BID Executive Director. “Dan Nolan’s vision for what Downtown is, and what it is becoming, has a ripple effect on the heightened place esteem of those who live, work, and play in our District.”
Previous James M. DiNapoli Award recipients include Tracy Metzger (2013), I. David Swawite (2014), Joseph Nicolla (2015), Nancy Zimpher (2016), Anders Tomson (2017), and Gavin J. Donohue (2018).