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Arcade Building In Need Of Repair Before It Gets A New Lease On Life

There is a lot of information that needs to come out before anyone gets too worked up about the purchase of the Arcade Building in downtown Jamestown.

Last week, Home Leasing LLC of Rochester purchased the tax-foreclosed downtown landmark for $25,000. That doesn’t mean development is imminent, though. The Arcade Building, located at 26-32 N. Main St., Jamestown, was tax foreclosed several years ago and has been in a state of continued deterioration for decades.

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.

Presently, there are no utilities that service the building. All other components — electric, HVAC, plumbing, fire protection and fire alarm — are obsolete, abandoned and in need of complete replacement if the building is to be repurposed.

A renovation project, according to a 2017 study financed by the Gebbie Foundation, found the cost for a renovation project that would involve first floor retail development with residential apartments in the second, third and fourth floors, to be about $16.4 million.

Home Leasing has been granted a due diligence and funding development period of 12 months which may be extended by the county executive if deemed in the best interest of the county. The closing on the sale of the property will be within 180 days after completion of the due diligence and funding development period. If Home Leasing LLC officials don’t think they can put together a proposal that makes financial sense, they can walk away from the sale.

If Home Leasing compiles a project that works for the developer, it will be interesting to see how that project fits into the type of downtown city officials are trying to create. There has been little appetite from decision makers for projects that would create subsidized housing on Water Street or on the city’s north side, so the type of residential apartments being considered by Home Leasing will be an interesting component of the developer’s plan from both a city planning and a project financing perspective.

Finding a developer willing to consider buying the Arcade Building is good news for downtown Jamestown, especially given what we know about the state of the building. Nobody should be under any impression, though, that an Arcade Building development project is going to be starting any time soon. The Arcade Building has a long road ahead before it receives a new lease on life.

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