OLEAN — A later than expected transfer of two downtown properties is still in the works, the city’s Urban Renewal Agency confirmed Wednesday.
At the agency’s monthly meeting Wednesday morning, Keri Kerper, coordinator of the city’s Office of Community Development, said she expects the land disposition agreement with Savarino Companies of Buffalo for the former Manufacturers Hanover and Siegel’s buildings on North Union Street is still under negotiation, with an expected completion date by the board’s Sept. 18 meeting.
The current deadline is Sept. 2, Kerper said, but with new revisions recently received from the developer, she said it is unlikely that timetable will be reached. Originally, the agreement was due in December, but was bumped several times and now includes the Siegel’s building.
In July, the Olean Common Council unanimously declared Savarino Companies of Buffalo a qualified and eligible sponsor to redevelop 101 N. Union St., the former Manufacturers Hanover building. The designation allows the URA to negotiate a developer agreement, set a sale price and move ahead with the project after a quarter-century vacancy.
Savarino officials plan a $13 million redevelopment in the 104-year-old building into a ground floor restaurant and housing on the upper floors — including affordable and high-end apartment — using $2 million from the 2017 state Downtown Revitalization Initiative award, various development tax breaks and other sources. At the neighboring Siegels building, a cooperative-style business with Olean Business Development is planned, along with two apartments on the second floor.
The URA is also now cleared to issue debt for a $700,000 project to replace the roof, repair some of the facade and help stabilize the foundation of the Manny Hanny structure. A pair of state grants are expected to cover the cost, to be paid on a reimbursement basis.
URA attorney Jack Hart noted the URA needed to prove it had obligations in the first 10 years of its existence in order to prove it could issue debt now.
“We had to go back to 1966 when the agency was formed,” he said.
“We had to pull boxes from the vault from the (Joe) Bordenaro era — they still smelled like cigars,” Kerper added.