OLEAN — The risk of falling glass is gone, but city officials said barricades will remain in front of the former Siegel’s building for the time being.
Barricades on the sidewalk in front of the Siegel’s building, at 107 N. Union St., were erected late last week, said Keri Stephen, coordinator of the city’s Department of Community Development.
“We were notified that one of the window panes had shifted,” she said, noting the glass has been removed from two of the floor-to-ceiling second floor windows and replaced temporarily by plywood. “We caught it before it fell.”
Foul play was quickly ruled out.
“It’s just the age of the window,” she said, adding that until the repairs are done, the barricades will stay up as a precaution.
“I just don’t want anybody walking there,” Stephen said. “We’re just worried about public safety.”
The building was constructed in 1915. For many years, it served as a shoe store. In 1993, after the death of long-time owner Samuel Siegel, the property was sold to Dunkirk Shoes Inc. The city took title in 2000.
The repairs will be completed and funded by the city Urban Renewal Agency, the government agency which has owned the structure since 2007.
The URA board will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday, at which time Stephen said she hopes to have an update on the repairs, as well as the stabilization project at the adjacent Manny Hanny building.
In October, the URA board approved a $700,000 project to stabilize the Manny Hanny, replace the roof and repair the facade. The project is to be funded entirely by state grants.
The project is one of the last pieces to redeveloping the site — under the terms of the grant, the work must be completed before the property is sold to Savarino Companies of Buffalo for a proposed $13 million redevelopment. Initially, a February 2019 deadline was set to have the land disposition agreement in place, but delays with the stabilization project pushed the deadline back to late in 2020.
Savarino officials hope to begin on the redevelopment in the 105-year-old building shortly thereafter, using $2 million from the 2017 state Downtown Revitalization Initiative award, various development tax breaks and other sources. At the neighboring Siegel’s building, a cooperative-style business with Olean Business Development is planned, along with two apartments on the second floor.
A year later, Savarino was selected as the preferred developer for the Siegel’s building. A co-op-style small business incubator is planned for the ground floor. In conjunction with Olean Business Development Corp., the ground floor will rent out permanent stalls to roughly eight to 10 local artisans or small business owners. An estimated 30 members would be included on a part-time or revolving basis, likely paying below market rate for space rentals. Two loft-style apartments of around 1,000 square feet each and rented at market value are planned for the second floor.
(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)