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October 17, 2013

Ex-Bresee's site's renovations unveiled

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Klugo’s Parkview Place is the name of the redeveloped properties that include 1 Dietz St. and the buildings formerly known as Bresee’s Oneonta Department Store.

The metamorphosis has been going on for about six years, and though not expected to be complete until next year, the cocoon of covered windows officially was shed Tuesday in a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Two businesses have located in the Main Street building, the developer said, and some apartments at 1 Dietz St. have occupants.

The city of Oneonta, the Otsego County Development Corp. and Klugo Oneonta LLC held a ribbon-cutting event this week to commemorate the opening of the commercial and residential spaces.

The official opening is among final steps in a rehabilitation of the flagship building on Main Street downtown. The $6.1 million redevelopment has been a public-private venture.

On Tuesday, economic leaders and Oneonta city, Otsego County and state politicians and some local residents attended the event, according to Klugo.

“It was pretty surreal,” Klugo said. During the event, he said, he thanked the community, neighbors and supporters for their patience and help. Of contractors hired for the work, 80 percent were local, he said Wednesday.

“It was truly a group effort,” Klugo said. “I really have been blessed by the team effort that was assembled in Oneonta.”

Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller also applauded the redevelopment achievement.

“The opening of the Bresee’s project is the biggest step forward in downtown Oneonta in more than a decade,” Miller said in a media release. He said participation in the ribbon cutting was a “great honor and a time of great celebration.”

Recently two commercial tenants moved into the Main Street building, Klugo said. Theresa’s Emporium is on the Main Street side of the complex, he said, and Printigree is on the Wall Street side in the back, which has a parking lot. Negotiations continue for one or two other retail tenants, he said.

The Bresee’s Redevelopment Project, the original name of the effort at 155-165 Main St. and 1 Dietz, will have three or four commercial or retail spaces and 17 market-rate residential units when complete, officials said.

The Main Street building will have 12 apartments, and the Dietz Street building will have five dwelling units.

Residences and remaining commercial space in the Main Street building will be ready March 1, Klugo said. He said 70 percent of the units, including all one-bedroom apartments, have been rented but some two- and three-bedroom units remain.

Three of the five apartments at 1 Dietz St. have been rented, Klugo said.

The family-owned and operated Bresee’s Oneonta Department Store opened on Main Street in Oneonta in 1899 and closed in 1994.

Klugo said it has been exciting to be part of a renovating a building that has made a strong imprint on the community’s history.

“The community is so tied to this building and has been very positive and supportive with the redevelopment project,” Klugo said. “The whole community has been wonderful to me.”

When the project is finalized, the total cost for acquisition, demolition, remediation and renovation will total $6.14 million, the release said. The Main Street building will have 7,500 square-feet of retail and commercial space.

For many years leading up to 2007, the building was vacant and fell into disrepair and became a safety and health hazard, the release said, and under the leadership of former Mayor John Nader and former city engineer Joseph Bernier, the city and the OCDC Board of Trustees forged a public-private partnership that paved the way for the redevelopment.

The Otsego County Economic Development provided highlights of the project’s history, including:

In November 2007, title to the former Bresee’s Oneonta Department Store was transferred to the OCDC from Northeast Medical Association, then owners of the building, and a OCDC/Oneonta Common Council Bresee’s Redevelopment Committee was formed.

The committee began a search process for a developer, and the project gained the attention from the Empire State Development Corp.

In January 2008, then Gov. Eliot Spitzer awarded the OCDC a $1 million City-by-City grant toward the rehabilitation of the building, the release said, and with this award, the city Oneonta became the smallest city in the state to have a project win such an award.

In June 2008, Bloomfield/Schon LLC of Cincinnati, Ohio, was chosen as a “preferred developer.” During the next two years, additional funds were sought and secured by the city of Oneonta to help defray the cost of an estimated $7 million project.

Assemblyman Bill Magee helped to provide a $1 million capital assistance grant; a $250,000 New York Main Street Award from the Office of Community Renewal was secured; and a $2.2 million Restore New York Round III was awarded.

In November 2009, the aluminum façade, which had been erected 1959, was removed.

In June 2010, when the building was more than 75,000 square-feet, heavy rains and a blocked storm drain caused the mid-section of the roof to collapse. OCDC hired LeChase Construction Services and Eastman & Associates to begin demolishing about 45,000 square-feet of obsolete and severely damaged interlocked buildings, while stabilizing the original Main Street structures.

At that time, project officials noted that the “preferred developer” hadn’t made significant progress on the redevelopment, and OCDC terminated the agreement with Bloomfield/Schon.

In February 2011, the building was stabilized and another search was initiated to find a developer. Five proposals were received, and by May 2011, Klugo Enterprises in partnership with Johnson-Schmidt & Associates Architects, out of Corning, were selected.

A revised budget of $4.5 million was defined and blue prints were created. Between December 2011 and March 2012, Richard Wakeman worked on the demolition and reconstruction of the Main Street façade.

From March and October 2012, crews worked on internal demolition and environmental mitigation. Meanwhile, Klugo Enterprises continued to work under a development agreement between OCDC and the city of Oneonta managing the project until February 2013, when the building was officially sold to Klugo Oneonta LLC for $400,000.