October 23, 2021

Businesses move into vacant Main Street properties

Drawn to downtown

Travis Dunn/staff reporter

Receptionist Christina Ripley answers a call on her headset Tuesday morning in the new Cortland offices of Coughlin & Gerhart LLP at 73 Main St. This previously vacant building is one of several in a row on this stretch of Main Street that is newly renovated and occupied

A string of vacant Main Street storefronts are now back in business.

Three of these properties at 73, 77 and 79 Main St. are now inhabited by Coughlin & Gerhart LLP at 73 Main and Cortland Student Living, a student housing complex at 77 and 79 Main. Coughlin & Gerhart, a Binghamton based law firm, is not new to Cortland.

The firm had previously occupied offices in the Tompkins Trust Co. building at 36 Main St. since 2017, when attorney Russell Ruthig joined the firm.

The firm moved into its new location in January. The building had previously been occupied by Cortland Prevention Resources, which is now located at 165
Main St.

Five attorneys — Keegan Coughlin, Angelo Catalano, Nicholas Cortese, Caroline Myrdek and Michael Perehinec — will work out of the office on a rotating basis. Ruthig recently retired after 45 years of practicing law.

Coughlin & Gerhart has offices across New York’s Southern Tier, including Bainbridge, Hancock, Ithaca, Owego and Walton. It also has an office in Montrose, Pennsylvania.

The law firm is renting the first two floors from McNeil Development, which bought the building in 2014 from Damian Mancini, according to property records.

The second floor has office space and two apartments are located on the third floor, said David McNeil of McNeil Development.

McNeil Development was awarded $220,000 in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds to renovate the building. The project cost about $700,000, McNeil said.

The buildings at 77 and 79 Main St. are being operated as student apartments by Live More Ithaca LLC, a property management company, whose sister company, Visum Development Group, owns the building, said Hannah Cohn-Manik, a marketing specialist with Live More Ithaca.

“We specialize in student housing, so that’s what it’s geared toward,” Cohn-Manik said.

The two connected buildings, which share an entrance at 77 Main St., feature luxury student housing on the first and third floors, and more moderately priced housing on the second floor:

  • The first floor has two two-bedroom apartments.
  • The second floor has three two bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartment.
  • The third floor has two three-bedroom apartments and two four-bedrooms apartments.

Tenants are already occupying some of the apartments, Cohn-Manik said.

The storefronts for 77 and 79 Main were previously bars — The 77 Club and Beer Goggles Bar. The first floor of 77 Main is now a resident lounge. The storefront of 79 Main St. is available for rent.

The nearby building at 81, 83 and 85 Main St., is also moving toward occupancy. This building, one of the largest downtown, is slated for a $2.4 million project by developers Steve Franco and Jamie Yaman, who seek to rent the first floor of the building as commercial space and the second and third floors as 12 market-rate apartments. The project was selected for $500,000 in state Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds.

The first floor of the building was occupied until late last year by Sacred Art, a tattoo parlor now located at 46 Main St. The upper floors have been vacant since the 1950s.

The developers also want to restore the existing 16,200 square feet of floor space to the original 20,000-square-foot footprint of the building. Nearly 4,000 square feet of space that has been unused would be restored.

The city’s historic review board will hear a proposal regarding signage and facade work at its next meeting, at 8 a.m. Tuesday