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June 19, 2013

Klugo: Ex-Bresee's work 'on pace'


About 15 guests wandered through the apartments in the Main Street building’s apartments, which are divided by beams running from floor to ceiling but have yet to be enclosed by installing drywalling.

“It’s another exciting phase of the project,” Klugo told guests. “I have a passion to do this.”

Some of the original brickwork, ceiling beams and wooden floors were visible, and Klugo, who has a hands-on approach to work at the site, said some windows will have original window sashes.

Klugo estimated apartment rents would be from $750 to $1,800. The design includes environmentally efficient lighting, he said, and renters will have access to storage space in the basement.

The tour group included members of the New York State Urban Council, a statewide nonprofit organization to founded to facilitate the revitalization and development of central business districts, Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, City Manager Michael Long, Otsego County Economic Developer Carolyn Lewis and Seventh Ward Common Council Member Robert Brzozowski, among others.

“It’s beautiful project — this will be a showpiece,” Gary Ferguson, Urban Council president and executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, said. The hope with such a project is that it spurs economic development downtown, he said.

At the Common Council meeting in City Hall on Tuesday night, Long mentioned the tour and update on the project.

“It will be a very big addition to our downtown revitalization process,” Long told the council. 

The city of Oneonta purchased the former Bresee’s complex between Main and Wall streets in 2007 and transferred the title to the Otsego County Development Corp., a nonprofit economic development group with ties to county and city governments.

A firm hired in 2008 to develop the property didn’t meet OCDC’s expectations, and its contract wasn’t renewed. Klugo Enterprises, which committed $800,000 in capital, signed an agreement with OCDC in 2011. The bulk of funding for the project was from several state grants.

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