January 21, 2022

Work progressing at different rates for DRI projects

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Jamie Yaman, the principal broker at Yaman Real Estate, examines the interior Friday of 83-85 Main St., in Cortland. Renovations to the building are being funded, in part, by a share of a $10 million state-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The interior looks gutted, with beams and joists in some parts of the building visible to the eye for the first time in decades. But when it’s ready, much of the space at 83-85 Main St., Cortland, will be used for the first time since Eisenhower was president.

Jamie Yaman, the principal broker of Yaman Real Estate, said the building — when it’s ready by spring 2021 — will help provide commercial and living spaces that downtown Cortland needs. It’s part of a $10 million package of projects the state is funding.

The 20,000-square-foot, four-floor building will be converted into commercial space on the first floor for a barber shop and the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce and apartment space on the other three floors — which have been largely vacant for more than 60 years.

“This is a great option for downtown, where a lot is happening” including shopping and dining options, Yaman said.

The $2.4 million project is one of several funded through $10 million the city was awarded in 2017 through its Downtown Revitalization Initiative. It got $500,000.

The initiative aims to greatly reshape and enhance the city’s downtown, Mayor Brian Tobin said.

Most of the city’s projects, like remaking Main Street, remain in the planning and development stage, Tobin said. But others have been completed, including a business startup loan fund and the Vine Health and Fitness gym.

“Things are moving along methodically,” he said, noting that a lot of the work is being done behind the scenes. “We have every intention to be sensitive for business when they get into the construction phases.”

“Just as impactful, although you won’t see it, will be the rebuilding of the infrastructure (water, wastewater, etc.) under Main Street,” said Garry VanGorder, the executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corp. and president/chief executive officer of the Cortland County Industrial Development Agency.

Tobin said that this will help prevent storm water from flooding Main Street, which he noted has been a problem in the past.

While renovation work stopped on 83-85 Main St. for two months — April and May — because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yaman said the initiative helped save and repurpose a building that may not have survived without it.

“This is going to be something that Cortland just doesn’t have,” he said.

Status check

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects:

  • Rebuilding Main Street for two-way traffic and new water, sewer and telecommunications lines: $5.09 million — PLANNING.
  • Renovating four properties — 13-15 Central Ave., 73 Main St., 83-85 Main St. and 37-39 Port Watson St. — for mixed commercial and residential use: $1.35 million — IN PROGRESS.
  • The Orchard, 28 Main St. entertainment venue: $975,000 — PLANNING.
  • Building owner/Business Startup loan and grant fund: $600,000 — COMPLETE.
  • Cortland Business Innovation Center at 40 Main St.: $484,000 — IN PROGRESS.
  • Downtown fiber optic and high-speed broadband: $386,000 — PLANNING.
  • Vine Health and Fitness Gym at 20 N. Main St.: $270,000 — COMPLETE.
  • Pocket park between 10 and 16 Main St.: $250,000 — PLANNING.
  • Crown City Artworks Project, featuring sculpture, murals or exhibitions: $200,000 — PLANNING.
  • SUNY Cortland Institute of Applied Geospatial and Drone Technology: $100,000 — IN PROGRESS.