City Center To Offer Apartments, Community Space

The LaBella Associates rendering of the dining area that will be used during dinner theater performances in the Jamestown City Center. Renovations at the Jamestown City Center, which was formerly the Key Bank Building along North Main Street, will start this spring. Submitted photo Submitted photo

Activities will be in abundance once the Jamestown City Center opens along North Main Street in Jamestown.

Plans for the multi-million dollar Jamestown City Center, which was formerly the Key Bank Building, renovation project includes the creation of eight residential apartments, office space for a corporate tenant and commercial and community service space that will be used for a variety of activities.

The project manager Lori Galster, Galster Enterprises Inc., has been working with building owner Arnold Duke of The Duke of Jamestown on the renovation project. Galster said LaBella Associates was recently hired to design the renovation project, which is supposed to last around one year. She said hopefully construction on the four-story, 40,000-square-foot building will start in May, which will be highlighted by a ground breaking ceremony that will include either state Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Last May, Hochul announced the project would be receiving $1 million through the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. Also in January 2017, Cuomo announced the project would receive $500,000 through the Restore New York Communities Initiative program. Galster said because the building is located in the Jamestown Downtown Historic District, they will also be applying for state and federal historic tax credits.

Galster said there are several plans for the commercial and community service space once the building is restored, which will be located in the building’s atrium. The main attraction will be a live dinner theater company, whose name cannot be released yet because they are in the process of finalizing the lease. She said the dinner theater company operates in another state and is expanding into New York. She added the theater company has rights to do sketches from the Carol Burnett Show.

One of the vaults located in the Jamestown City Center, which was formerly the Key Bank Building. One of the old bank vaults in the building will be used as a wine storage facility for the proposed wine lounge and possible future wine festivals that will be held in the Jamestown City Center once renovations are completed. Submitted photo Submitted photo

“That is a great fit with the National Comedy Center,” Galster said.

Plans for the dinner theater will include a menu that matches the theme of the performance, with the meals served family-style prior to the show, Galster said.

She said once the meal is concluded, people in attendance will stay seated at their tables for the live theater performance.

Galster said a commercial kitchen will be installed for the dinner theater and hopefully for culinary arts classes that will be taught when there is no performance. In the atrium area, she said there will also be a wine tasting lounge, physical adventure escape rooms and space for nonprofit tenants to use for community events. She added the area might be used for stand-up comedy performances, a wine festival and dance programs.

“For the old teller area, there is a long marble top we hope to use as a bar. It may also be used for graphic arts computer stations,” she said. “We’re trying to support multiple functions in this space.”

Another interesting aspect about this renovation project is that the former Key Bank Building is actually three buildings. Galster said the former Bank of Jamestown, which opened in 1919, is the building located along Second Street while the center portion of the building used to be the Swedish-American National Bank, which opened in 1921. In 1932, the banks were combined into a Neoclassical, limestone-clad building, which expanded in 1964 when a third structure was remodeled and given a complimentary masonry facade.

Galster said the former Swedish-American National Bank is where the atrium lobby of the bank was located, which held a large scale model of an ocean liner because the bank had a lot of cruise line and ship building clients.

“It is very challenging because the three buildings floor heights don’t line up,” Galster said about the unique restoration project. “The most challenging item is bringing things up to modern building codes with the required fire protection and modern heating and air condition while still keeping the historic nature of the building.”

In September 2016 during a Jamestown City Council public hearing about the redevelopment project, Duke, of Bemus Point, said he loves the history of Jamestown. He said he has a background in the jewelry business, calling the building a “gem in the rough.” In July 2016, Duke reportedly purchased the building for $120,000 during a closed auction.

The Jamestown City Center revitalization project was one of 10 projects that received funding through the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. In 2016, Cuomo announced the DRI to invest $100 million into 10 communities – one municipality from each of the Regional Economic Development Councils. The initiative is to assist communities with transformative housing, economic development, transportation and community projects to attract and retain residents, visitors and businesses. Jamestown was the first community selected for the DRI in Western New York.