Updated 09/06/2012 06:50 PM
Plans for new Elmira Regional City Center revealed
It's a new plan that city officials are hoping will lead to a bright future for Elmira. Thursday, the plans for a new $43 million city center were revealed to the city council and the public. Our Bill Mich has the details of the project and what it means for the region.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- The idea is to turn the two blocks between Baldwin Street and the Clemens Center Parkway into the new Elmira Regional City Center. The four historic buildings in that space, including the Federal building and the Star Gazette building, would be renovated.
In the end, there would be a brand new hotel, new apartments, a conference center, a restaurant and Gray Street would be gone. That's the developer's plan.
"He's not positioning this to compete with the Holiday Inn on Water Street or the new Fairfield Inn up in Horseheads. He is positioning this to compete against those high ends hotels, those resort type hotels," said George Miner, the Chemung County IDA Executive Director.
Thursday, the public got to hear the plans and how it would all be paid for. Officials are hoping to land a $5 million state grant. The banks would finance a large portion if surveys say the hotel and apartments would be in demand. The rest would come from the city, county and school district, who would use large portion of the new property tax revenue generated by the project. For the city, officials say the benefit goes beyond the boost of people coming into Elmira.
"Obviously, we are going to be making out on this deal and being able to take that tax money and turn it back into the roads and other buildings and other infrastructure that's been lacking services for a long, long time," said Elmira mayor, Sue Skidmore.
And others see the impact this project could have throughout the region.
"Elmira is a very attractive site, geographically attractive site for a lot of visitors to the entire Finger Lakes/Upstate region. And the Clemens Center has certainly substantiated that. So this project will not only be appealing to downtown Elmira but indeed to the county and beyond," said Chemung County Chamber of Commerce President, Kevin Keeley.
Project leaders are waiting to find out about the state money before any work gets underway. That announcement should come in early November.