The Future of Downtown Elmira
ELMIRA -- [WENY] Two developers have failed to follow through on renovating the properties that have been empty for over twenty years... And a lot of people are saying "i'll believe it when I see it"
On the other hand, the building's transfer of ownership to a new developer has some long-time elmira neighbors and business owners feeling nostalgic and thinking about what could be.
The developer has 20 years of experence in redeveloping historic properties and plans on keeping historic features.
I talked to people about what Elmira was like in it's prime and what they think about luxury apartments and new businesses coming to downtown.
"It was the hub bub of shopping Rosenbaum's was considered like the Izzard's building an upscale department store and this was long before the mall and this is where people came to shop," said Samuel Draper.
Before the flood of 1972 Downtown Elmira was the place to be.... Not so much lately.
But, another developer has big plans for the old harold's, rosenbaum's and Marvin's buildings, and he's confident he'll follow through.
"People don't realize what we used to have and what it is today, but there is a need for nice apartments in the city and city dwellings," said Draper.
Mike Mitchell owns Copy Express and the luxury Riverside Suites right on Water Street. He says, "It's exactly what Elmira needs and the more people that live downtown the more things that'll be going on and the more events the more restaurants and the more businesses that'll be here."
But that's not how everyone feels; some of the business owners I talked to today, who preferred not to be on camera told me they'll believe it when they see it.
The new owner, Uri Kaufman, assured us this project is for sure. He says, "Judge me by my actions, we had a similar project, a much much bigger project in upstate NY in a place called Cohoes which is near albany and no one thought that one was going to happen either but we're in the middle of the third stage we've invested 67 million dollars, so we do do this, they do happen.
Kaufman expects financing will be approved in about 60 days, and hopes to get started on the project within 90.