Ithaca receives $500K grant for Masonic Temple

The State of New York today awarded The Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) a competitive New York Main Street anchor grant in the amount of $500,000 that will enable a complete renovation of the historic Masonic Temple building at 117 North Cayuga Street. The property is owned by Ithaca Renting Company, who participated in the preparation of the grant application.The grant will be administered by the New York State Office of Community Renewal as part of its New York State Main Street program. The award is part of the massive Consolidated Funding Application round that was announced today in Albany by Governor Cuomo.This three-floor, 20,000 square-foot property dating from the 1920s was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 but has been chronically vacant for over a decade. The renovation will entail a series of code, façade, and systems upgrades that will convert the functionally obsolete landmark into new leasable units for a variety of commercial uses including office space and an eatery. The property will also receive an elevator, making the entire property accessible for the very first time. The total project is estimated to cost just over $1 million.Says Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, “This is great news for downtown and our entire community. The DIA has been awarded three previous New York Main Street grants that have made a tremendous impact on the functionality and visual appeal of our downtown buildings and streetscape. This project will be especially important as it will add much-needed versatile commercial space as well as preserve an architecturally significant building on one of our community’s most important street corners.”Says Nathan Lyman, COO of Ithaca Renting Company, “117 North Cayuga is an important building in the fabric of downtown Ithaca that has presented unique challenges. Ithaca Renting is excited to be working with the DIA to overcome these hurdles and update the building for modern uses while paying respect to its historical character. We would also like to thank Mayor Svante Myrick and Common Council for their unanimous vote of support in this grant application. This will be an outstanding demonstration of the public and private sectors working together for the betterment of the community.”The plan also received the support of New York State Senator Tom O’Mara, who wrote, “Great strides have been made by the DIA in making downtown Ithaca a stronger, more sustainable commercial neighborhood, but much more work remains to be done. [This project] will go a long way toward meeting the organization’s goals.”Planning for the project will begin immediately. Construction is expected to begin by summer 2016.

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