City Assisting Developer Renovating Second Former Downtown Bank

Pictured is the former Marine Midland Bank and The Forum is being redeveloped into the Jamestown Emporium. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The way developer Arnold Duke is renovating former bank buildings in downtown Jamestown you have to start to questioning if he knows about a secret vault full of cash in either the former Key Bank Building or Marine Midland Bank.

On Monday during the Jamestown City Council work session, Vince DeJoy, city development director, discussed how city officials will be assisting Duke apply for a $500,000 New York Main Street Downtown Anchor Project grant through the Consolidated Funding Application through the state Regional Economic Development Council program for the renovations to the former Marine Midland Bank.

Duke, who received a $500,000 Restore New York Communities Initiative program grant last year to assist with renovations at the former Key Bank Building, has plans on renovating the former Marine Midland Bank, located at 201-203 N. Main St., in the Jamestown Emporium.

Last month, Lori Galster of Galster Enterprises Inc., who is helping facilitate both renovation projects, said Duke is looking to host several retail businesses vendors inside the former bank, which will include Duke’s very own jewelry store. Duke is the president of the International Gem & Jewelry Show.

Galster said Duke closed on the purchase of the building in May and wants to have the building renovated and occupied within the next year. She said the emporium will feature boutiques and artisan vendors. She added that renovations will include fixing the roof, replacing the windows, adding Americans With Disabilities Act building access and restrooms. The building also has a basement, which could be used for additional vendors or storage.

City officials, along with private developers, in recent years have been quite successful in receiving New York Main Street Downtown Anchor Project grants. Last year, the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation received a $100,000 anchor grant for the renovations of 10-12 W. Second St. Developers Joseph Rollman, local architect, and Jason Sivak, Sivak Stonemasonry, are working to rehabilitate the vacant building into a bakery, public market, shared workspace and apartments.

In 2015, the JRC assisted Jon McLellan and Jon McLellan II, developers of the Jamestown Brewing Company, receive a $500,000 grant through the anchor grant program. Along with George Patti III of GPatti Development, the McLellans are in the process of renovating the former Lillian V. Ney Renaissance Center into the new brewery and restaurant. The total restoration project is expected to cost around $4 million, which includes purchasing the building. The creation of the brewery and restaurant work is expected to cost around $1.1 million.

In 2014, the JRC assisted Patti receive $250,000 through the anchor grant program to redevelop the former M&T Bank Building into the Signature Center. The building renovation project included the use of $3.5 million in public and private funding. The building is now the headquarters for Digitell Inc. and Chautauqua Works.

DeJoy said Duke is working with the State Historic Preservation Office on the Marine Midland Bank renovation project. He said there have been some environmental issues, asbestos, involved in rehabilitating the building. He added city officials will also be funding Duke Community Development Block Grant money to assist with American With Disabilities Act improvements.

Andrew Liuzzo, At-Large councilman, asked if Duke was receiving a Payment in Lieu of Taxes from the city on the Marine Midland renovation project. DeJoy said there is no PILOT agreement between Duke and city officials, although the developer could apply for other tax breaks through programs offered by other government agencies. DeJoy said city officials will realize property taxes from both projects.