October 24, 2021

BDC finds new home

Business and development agency one of 3 set to move

Photos by Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Photo of the exterior of the Cortland Downtown Partnership building in a Cortland Standard file photo from Dec. 2019

Three Cortland County business and development agencies expect to move from their offices at the county-owned 37 Church St., Cortland, and one has already announced its move to a Main Street office.

The Cortland County Business Development Corp. and Industrial Development Agency will set up in a new home — the newly renovated Cortland Business Innovation Center Cortland at 40 Main St. owned by the Cortland Downtown Partnership.

BDC Executive Director Garry VanGorder said this week the decision to move was influenced partly by indications the county may use 37 Church St. — the BDC/IDA’s home for 15 years — for other purposes.

The Cortland County Chamber of Commerce also expects to move, as does the Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Church Street has been great for us but we understand that circumstances and priorities change,” VanGorder said. “We’re sorry to leave, but we’re excited about being in the heart of downtown, too.”

The BDC will share space on the second floor of 40 Main St. with the American Red Cross. The Downtown Partnership is looking for tenants for the residential apartment on the third floor as well as for the first floor of the building.

VanGorder said lease negotiations were “under way” for SUNY Cortland’s entrepreneurial and business incubator program as a first-floor tenant.

“That’s a key for us,” VanGorder said. “We need to be and want to be close to our academic partners as we seek out and train the next generation of business owners and entrepreneurs.”

The Downtown Partnership is completing a $1.9 million renovation project, which included a $650,000 elevator, on the building at 40 Main St. The building, bought for $350,000 in 2011, received a $500,000 Restore NY Communities Initiative grant and will also be reimbursed $484,000 through the Downtown Revitalization Program.

Evan Geibel, the president of the partnership, declined comment. Geibel is also publisher of the Cortland Standard.

“We’re excited to have the lights back on in the building,” VanGorder said. “That’s big for downtown.”

Agencies are moving out of this county-owned building at 37 Church St., Cortland, giving the county room to move other offices into it, should they choose.

Meghan Lawton, the director of the Convention and Visitors, said an announcement on whether that agency, also at 37 Church St., will also move to the Downtown Business Partnership space will come in the new year.

“At this point were in the midst of everything right now, so we’re not making an announcement until January,” she said Monday.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Robert Haight said the chamber will also move, but announcements will come later — once a lease has been signed — about when and where that move will be.

The two-story 4,613-square-foot building is county-owned space, and county leaders say if it becomes available it can be used to help the county with space issues.

“We have greater needs and opportunities than we have space to handle them all,” said Legislator Beau Harbin (D-Cortland), the chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, in an email Tuesday.

The county is looking at number of space arrangements and will work with Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Chuck Miller to determine what are the best options.

“At the moment these plans are in the very early stages and will be worked through over the coming months,” he said.