Malorie Lebeau 03/02/2020

The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved a resolution to sell the Arcade Building, which is a tax foreclosed property, to Home Leasing LLC. of Rochester for redevelopment. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

MAYVILLE — The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved the sale of the Arcade Building in Jamestown for redevelopment.

The legislature held its regular voting session meeting Wednesday, approving the resolution to sell the Arcade Building, which is owned by the county because its a tax foreclosed property, to Home Leasing LLC. of Rochester.

According to the resolution, the legislature approved Home Leasing to purchase the building for $25,000. The Arcade Building, located at 26-32 N. Main St., Jamestown, was tax foreclosed several years ago and has been in a state of continued deterioration for decades. Home Leasing has been granted a due diligence and funding development period of 12 months, which may be extended by the county executive if deemed in the best interest of the county. The closing on the sale of the property will be within 180 days after completion of the due diligence and funding development period.

According to the minutes of the legislature Administrative Services Committee meeting earlier this month, Mark Geise, county economic development deputy executive director, said Home Leasing is proposing do a mixed-use project that could have both commercial and residential space. He said city of Jamestown officials have expressed interest in Home Leasing proceeding with the proposed project.

“The building has been vacant for many years. It’s in really bad shape, but has good bones, and it’s a historic structure,” Geise said. “Home Leasing, I did a couple of projects with them when I was in Rochester. They are an incredible company. They have done a lot of projects. They’ve done five or six projects in Rochester and Syracuse, Albany and Auburn, Chili — all over the place. They have done new builds and they’ve done historic renovations, and this project, I think, is a very good project.”

Geise said if the Arcade Building isn’t renovated soon, county officials will have to most likely pay to demolish the building at some point. He said Home Leasing is also doing a redevelopment project in Falconer where fire occurred at buildings downtown in March 2017 and January 2018.

“So they are really kind of creating a home base here in this area which is good news for us,” Geise said.

Jim Caflisch, county real property tax director, said there’s about $63,600 in back taxes owed, so the redevelopment project would give the county an opportunity to recover a portion. He said that taxes haven’t been paid on the property going back to 2007.

During the legislature voting session meeting Wednesday, the resolution was passed unanimously, and no legislator spoke about the proposal before the vote.

Earlier this month, a demolition project at the building located directly south of the Arcade Building, 24 N. Main St., was finished. Last year, city officials ordered the emergency demolition of 24 N. Main Street due to the extensive fire damage in 2017, which was causing an imminent public safety threat. In July, the demolition of the top floor of the building was started, with the rest of the building being torn down earlier this month.

Since the fire at 24 N. Main St. in 2017, city officials have been working to try and find a solution to stabilize the Arcade Building. In 2017, C&S Engineers Inc. was hired by the Gebbie Foundation to create a condition assessment report on the structure.

According to the executive summary of the condition assessment, the building, which was constructed in 1898, is in fair to good condition structurally, in regard to foundation and walls. However, due to poor maintenance, upkeep and lack of functioning utilities, there are multiple points of water infiltration throughout the building, which is vacant and abandoned.

Over time, the structural integrity of the various floors has become compromised, and in some areas, unsafe. In addition, most windows are broken or missing, which further compromises the weather-tightness of the building.

As part of the study, costs were determined based on three scenarios: demolition, stabilization and renovation. The least expensive option was to stabilize the building. This included making the building weather-tight and to protect it from further vandalism. This evaluation included associated hazardous materials abatement as well as the replacement of the roof, doors and windows, which had an estimated cost of $1,455,000.

The second scenario in regards to cost is demolition. This included completely razing the building, abating all hazardous materials, rendering the site ready for future development. The estimated cost for demolition was $1,708,000.

The final option explored was a full restoration, including bringing the building up to current building and energy codes. For this scenario, a first floor retail space was considered and floors two through four, residential apartments. The estimated cost for the renovations is $16.4 million.