Construction to revamp the Homer Avenue plaza in the city of Cortland is expected to begin in late fall, with four tenants already planned for the site.
“We’re doing a complete renovation,” said David Yaman, who is working on the project with his son, Jamie Yaman, principal broker at Yaman Real Estate.
David Yaman said half of the 120,000-square-foot facility will be occupied by a fitness center, general office space and Cortland ReUse — a fledgling nonprofit working to start a facility to sell reusable materials and used goods.
“We’re going to keep Dollar General,” he said, noting the company has a long-term lease. “They like it here.”
He said he hopes to start construction in late October or early November and finish in the spring, with tenants moving into the building in March. Yaman said the site has no environmental issues he needs to address.
The Yamans have been working on the $4.5 million projects since at least 2017. Originally, the plan was to have as tenants the YWCA, Seven Valleys Health Coalition, the Cortland County Community Action Program, SUNY Cortland, the Cortland, Virgil and Homer farmers’ markets, United Way for Cortland County, Sustainable Cortland and Cortland County Food Pantries.
However, the YWCA and CAPCO now plan to use the former Parker Elementary School instead for childcare, but are waiting on a vote by the Cortland City Common Council to approve the purchase of the facility.
When those organizations made that decision, Yaman said he had to delays his project “because the YWCA was interested in taking up a large portion of the space” and he needed to find new tenants.
Either way, Yaman said he’s excited to see the project move forward.
“It’s been a long time,” he said.
And although no lease had been signed by Cortland Reuse, Kat McCarthy, head committee member for Cortland ReUse and a Cortland alderwoman, said organization leaders are excited about that particular location.
The organization is working to find seed money to feel secure in signing a lease.
McCarthy said the group is working on a house deconstruction project on a countyowned property on Fairview Drive in Cortlandville. She said they are actively looking for volunteers for that project and people can sign up at https://bit.ly/2EUkYhQ. Also materials from that project are being sold at the Finger Lakes Reuse site on Triphammer Mall in Ithaca.
“We certainly have a lot more in the works,” she said.
Cortland ReUse is a nonprofit hoping to improve the economy and the environment through education and sustainable materials management, such as recycling housing materials rather than sending them to a landfill. It is, at the moment, supported by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Corltand, although it plans to become a separate 501(c)(3) organization.