ELMIRA, N.Y.(WENY)-- Iszards was once a staple of Downtown Elmira until they closed their doors in 1988. The department store sold everything from clothes to furniture  but unfortunately could no longer continue to stay open once family members were unable to maintain the business. Now, after being semi-vacant for years, an Ithaca developer has purchased the space promising to bring in affordable housing. 

"Excellus Blue Cross and Blue Shield is renting space there from the prior owner. And then they were going to renovate the other three stories and turn it into residential use. What we're thinking and what we're hearing is it's going to be more geared towards the medical students coming in because they're going to need housing," says Dan Mandell, Mayor of Elmira. 

Downtown Elmira is going though a lot of changes as of recently and adding more housing will really help the process of bringing more business to the area. 

"Just having this building redeveloped is going to be a major milestone for some of our efforts we're creating here in Elmira and I think what's really important here is the fact that it's creating  an opportunity for housing," says Jill Koski, Senior Economic Development Manager for Southern Tier Economic Growth.  

A time line on this project has yet to be determined due to the fact that the purchase just recently went through.

"Because right now it's in its infancy, we'll have to wait and see. We'll be following up with Visum to find out how long it's going to take and we're all excited for them. I can tell you this, we as a council in the city government are going to be very supportive of them and help them get through this project," says Mandell. 

Even with the affordable housing coming in, the developer is going to make sure that he preservers Iszard's historic legacy.