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Arcade Building Makes State Preservation List

The Arcade Building, located at 26 N. Main St., has made the Preservation League of New York State’s Seven to Save Endangered Properties list for 2018-19. City officials would like to find a developer to restore the Arcade Building, but would like to demolish the building adjacent to the south, located at 24 N. Main St., which was the site of a structure fire last June. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

A vacant building that once housed retail stores, theaters, clubs and studios has made the Preservation League of New York State’s Seven to Save Endangered Properties list.

On Monday, the Preservation League released their 2018-19 Seven to Save list to draw attention to the loss of “historic fabric” in National Registered historic districts to kick-start development to bring back notable buildings for reuse.

“Since 1999, Seven to Save has mobilized community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened,” said Jay DiLorenzo, Preservation League president. “A Seven to Save designation from the league delivers invaluable technical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness and opens the door to grant assistance for endangered properties.”

Vince DeJoy, city development director, said there is no specific plan for the Arcade Building, located at 26 N. Main St., at this time, but several potential developers have inquired about the building in the past.

“When we do find a serious developers to put together a development plan having this designation will give us a leg up on any grants we are seeking to try and rehabilitate and restore the building,” he said. “We aren’t under any illusion this will bring developers out of the woodwork.”

DeJoy said city officials are hoping a developer will come forward before the building deteriorates before an emergency demolition is needed, which could cost more than $1 million because of the size of the building and because it is on a downward sloping hill. He said the city has done its best to secure the building, which is a constant battle.

As for the building located between the Arcade Building and the railroad overpass, which was the site of a downtown fire last June, DeJoy said they are awaiting word from state officials of possible grant funding to tear down the two-story building, located at 24 N. Main St.

“State Assemblyman Andy Goodell is working to secure those funds,” DeJoy said. “We are hoping any day now we will get word from the state about the funds to clean up the site. We have already put out bids for the clean up. If they don’t come through we will have to find a different source, possibly emergency contingency funding through the 2018 budget. We would like to reserve those funds for other emergencies.”

DeJoy said that last year’s fire wasn’t the first disaster at 24 N. Main St.

“I don’t know the circumstances or when it happened, but it used to extend beyond the two floors to four floors,” he said. “They lopped off the top after a devastating fire, but I don’t know when that was.”

According to preservationready.org, a fire in the 1950s is when the top two floors of 24 N. Main St. was lost due to a fire. This is also when it became its own parcel instead of being a part of the Arcade Building.

Following last summer’s fire at 24 N. Main St., city officials went to work to try and find a solution to stabilize the structures, which also includes the Haglund Building. Last summer, C&S Engineers Inc. was hired by the Gebbie Foundation to create a condition assessment report.

According to the executive summary of the condition assessment, all major components were evaluated and assessed on a good, fair or poor rating system. The components evaluated included the site, foundation, building envelope, building super-structure, utilities, mechanical, fire protection and fire alarm.

The building, which was constructed in 1898, is in fair to good condition structurally, in regard to foundation and walls. However, due to poor maintenance, upkeep and lack of functioning utilities, there are multiple points of water infiltration throughout the building, which is vacant and abandoned. Over time, the structural integrity of the various floors has become compromised, and in some areas, unsafe. In addition, most windows are broken or missing, which further compromises the weather-tightness of the building.

As part of the study, costs were determined based on three scenarios: demolition, stabilization and renovation. The least expensive option was to stabilize the building. This included making the building weather-tight and to protect it from further vandalism. This evaluation included associated hazardous materials abatement as well as the replacement of the roof, doors and windows, which had an estimated cost of $1,455,000.

The second scenario in regards to cost is demolition. This included completely razing the building, abating all hazardous materials, rendering the site ready for future development. The estimated cost for demolition was $1,708,000.

The final option explored was a full restoration, including bringing the building up to current building and energy codes. For this scenario, a first floor retail space was considered and floors two through four, residential apartments. The estimated cost for the renovations is $16,420,000

In December, Gebbie Foundation and city officials didn’t receive a $500,000 consolidated funding application grant through the state Regional Economic Development Corporation program.

Additional information about each of the designees is available on the leagues’ website at preservenys.org.

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