Penn Yan’s initiative to attract more upscale residential development in the upper floors of older buildings in the downtown business section, has received a double shot in the arm recently. Steve Griffin, CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC, Yates County’s IDA) says two grants awarded by the state will bring $800,000 to planned projects to develop apartments on the second and third floors of buildings on Main and Elm Streets.
Two buildings, Longs’ Cards & Books and the former Belknap Hill Books, have jointly received $500,000 to develop them into commercial and residential mixed use. Longs’ was built in 1864 and was known for years as The Opera House, but the upper floor has not been in use for many decades. The plan calls for seven apartments to be constructed in the two-story space. Owner Jim Long is aware of the building’s history, but needs to find an economically viable use for the rest of his building.
There are existing older apartments above Belknap Hill Books, which was recently purchased by Stacey Mirinaviciene, an Assistant Professor of Accounting at Keuka College. She is a Certified Public Accountant with her own accounting practice, Roslyn Accounting Services, experienced in audits, tax, and business consulting. The renovation plan calls for four apartments above and commercial offices on the ground floor.
Griffin says the two projects are substantial. “We applied for $1 million for just these two and got $500,000, so plans will have to be adjusted,” he says, saying the projects will go out for bid in the coming months.