The coming year promises economic investments in Cortland County, with work to wrap up a $10 million revitalization initiative, a hospital affiliation plan that could protect more than 700 jobs and development projects in key areas of the county’s urban core.
The projects, if they all come to fruition, represent a $75 million investment in the community.
Cortland wins $10 million revitalization
After losing to Oswego in 2016, Cortland triumphed as the 2017 Central New York winner for the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The city beat out Auburn, Syracuse, Fulton and Cazenovia to win the $10 million prize.
Since Cortland was announced as the winner in October, work to assemble projects that would bring tens of millions of dollars in public and private investment has been moving virtually non-stop with the assistance of state appointed consultants Cameron Engineering. To date, 42 sponsored projects have been proposed, and dozens more without sponsors. Efforts to gauge public interest include open houses, planning committee member appearances at public events and online surveys.
The list of potential projects range from converting Main Street to a twoway street, a downtown wi-fi system, a local music museum, and renovating upper floors of buildings into apartment space.
The final list of projects will be finalized in March and sent to the state for approval.
Hospital seeks affiliation
Cortland Regional Medical Center, the county’s largest private employer, announced in September it sought to affiliate with Pennsylvania-based Guthrie Medical Group. The arrangement would provide $41 million in infrastructure and electronic records upgrades, no service cuts for at least 10 years, local control of the hospital and an affiliation with the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.
The hospital also received a $19.8 million state grant in 2017, paying off debt from financing the emergency room construction in 2003 and previous construction of a nursing home.
The affiliation would be a turnaround for a hospital that had a $7 million a year operating deficit in 2014 and $10.4 million in 2016.
Nonprofits plan move to Homer Ave.
A group of non-profits plans to fill a Homer Avenue plaza in a $5.5 million project to revitalize Cortland’s North side.
The plaza, at 172-174 Homer Ave., was the home to a P&C grocery and has been empty since 2010. The Cortland YMCA planned to develop the space, but that never materialized and it put the site up for sale in 2016, which real estate developer David Yaman purchased.
The Cortland YWCA plans to consolidating two day-care programs at the site and start a shelter for abused and homeless. It plans on moving by September 2018, as its Here We Grow program is located in a Miller Street building owned by Cortland Regional Medical Center and the hospital asked the program to vacate the building.
Seven Valleys Health Coalition plans an indoor farmers’ market. The Cortland County Historical Society plans on having exhibits. And the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County plans to move operations there from the Cortland County Office Building on Central Avenue.
Crescent Commons groundbreaking
The former Crescent Corset factory on south Main Street is being redeveloped into apartment and commercial space, another Yaman project, with the first tenants planned to move in in 2018.
The Crescent Commons project costs $16.3 million, with $250,000 from the city of Cortland, $300,000 from National Grid, $1 million from the New York Regional Economic Development Council and the rest coming from state and federal historical tax credits and a mortgage through the Community Preservation Corp.
The factor was built in 1923, making Lady Luke corsets for JC Penney. It is listed on both the state and national registers of historic places.
The building will have 28 one-bedroom apartments, with monthly rent in the mid-$900 range and 19 two-bedroom apartments, with monthly rent in the mid-$1,200 range.
Of the building’s 149,000 square feet, 45,185 square feet would be for the apartments. The remaining 103,490 square feet would be for first-floor commercial space.
Yaman looks to replace burned down building
For more than a year, a hole in the ground lies where a building used to stand at South Main and Pine streets in Homer. But that may change next year.
Jamie Yaman, principal broker for Yaman Real Estate, has said he and his father, David, plan to buy the property and develop it through another corporate entity. They are researching the feasibility of building a $2 million building at 21-23 S. Main St., where a three-story building stood before it was destroyed in a fire in 2016 that killed a man.
The new building would also be three stories tall, with the first floor used for commercial purposes and the top two floors for residential space, Jamie Yaman said.
Yaman said he wants to construct a building that matches the historic nature of the village and makes Homer residents proud. The project has already received $240,000 from a state Empire State Development grant — part of the $5.2 million state funding the county received.
Staff Reporter Nick Graziano also contributed to this report.