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Filling a hole in Homer village

Construction project moves forward, slowed slightly by weather

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

The three-story building under construction at 21-23 Main St. in Homer is shown Wednesday. Jamie Yaman, principal broker for Yaman Real Estate, is developing the project with his father, David.

What was once a hole on Homer’s Main Street in September is now a three-story structure, but weather has slowed the overall construction of the new building.

Not by much, though, as construction will continue through the winter, said Jamie Yaman, principal broker for Yaman Real Estate, who is developing the project with his father, David.

Yaman said he is looking to have the building complete and occupied by February or March. In September, when construction started, the estimated competition date was February.

“Guys are working every day (on the building),” Yaman said. Even during the snowy conditions Wednesday.

When complete, the first floor of the three-story building will be for commercial use and the top two floors will be for residential use — six apartments in total.

While he isn’t yet looking for tenants to fill those spaces, Yaman said if people express interest in any of the spaces he’ll speak with them.

While retail on the bottom floor of the building would be great, Homer Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe has said he would like to see another restaurant.

The third floor of the building will be fully framed and have its floor put down by the second week of December, Yaman said. Once that is complete, the building will have to be dried out before the roof can be put on.

“We can’t start closing it off until the wood is dried out,” Yaman said. That could take about a month.

The initial estimate for the cost of the project was about $2 million. Yaman has said the final cost depends on the scope of the project.

It will include $770,000 in public funds, with $650,000 coming from a Restore New York grant and the remaining $120,000 from an Empire State Economic Development Fund grant. Yaman has said there will be a significant amount of private funding, although he had declined to say how much.

When the new building is complete, it won’t have a modern facade that clashes with the other buildings on Main Street. Yaman has said he and his father want to construct a building that matches the historic nature of the village.

The project has been in development for more than a year. Where the new building is being constructed at 21-23 S. Main St., once stood the Wheadon Block building. It was destroyed in a 2016 fire that killed a man. Brian H. Bermudez, who lived in the building, was charged in 2016 with making methamphetamine — a highly combustible process — that started the fire.

Bermudez pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, felonies, in October 2017 in Cortland County Court.

The building dated to the 1800s and was owned at the time of the fire by David Ames. The building held Ames’ law office and Homer Coiffeur on the first floor and two apartments on the second.

Eva Narrow, owner of Homer Coiffeur, moved her shop next door into Bonnie’s Beauty Salon at 19 S. Main St., after the fire. Narrow said she plans to stay there and won’t try to get space in the new building.

Still, she is happy to see the hole left by the burned building finally being filled.

“That hole was terrible,” she said.

She misses the building she was in, and every time she walked by the hole, it brought a certain melancholy.

“At least there will be a new building and it won’t be so sad,” Narrow said.

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