TICONDEROGA-Revitalization efforts in downtown Ticonderoga took a major step forward recently with the sale of the Cobbler's Bench building.
The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance purchased the landmark storefront Feb. 24.
The Cobbler's Bench building - a three-story, 15,000- square feet, brick building at the corner of Montcalm Street and Champlain Avenue - was bought through the alliance's "rollup fund" designed to identify, purchase and renovate distressed, downtown buildings important to revitalization efforts. Private investors, all local members of the alliance, are providing initial capital.
"Recognizing that Ticonderoga needs an influx of capital, people and ideas to break through its closed loop local economy, which feeds mainly on itself, and to reverse its downward economic spiral, the alliance believes that the Cobbler's will attract new businesses and and fresh capital and, as such, serve as an initial anchor for further revitalization of Montcalm Street," said Jill Cunningham, executive assistance to the chairman of the alliance.
"In conjunction with its many partner organizations including PRIDE, the Montcalm Street Partnership, Fort Ticonderoga, International Paper, Essex County IDA and the Glens Falls National Bank, the alliance is moving in a number of directions to stimulate a lasting revitalization for the region," she added. "These include a jobs program aimed at outreaching to prospective employers that could benefit from Ticonderoga's status as a regional commercial hub, as well, to smaller employers that could benefit from early stage incubation services."
Alex Levitch, alliance chairman, said plans are in place for the building.
"We do have a handful of specific tenants in mind that would add value to the building while at the same time furthering use of the building as an anchor for revitalizing the downtown commercial district," he said. "It will take a good four to six months of mixed use feasibility and site planning that optimizes returns to both investor group and town to know exactly where we' re going to go witi this wonderful, old landmark."
Levitch said renovations to the building will be made, although it may be several months before work begings.
"It depends on the feasibilty planning," he said. "Could be 6-8 months, might, with a ilttle bit of luck, be in the next 90 days."
The purchase price for the building was $95,000, Levitch said.
The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance has a series of plans to promote downtown economic activity, Cunningham said.
"The alliance thanks the Champlain National Bank for its keen community spirit and extraordinary cooperation in the acquisition of the building, with specific gratitude for Chairman Peter Paine and President Jon Cooper, without whom this acquisition could not have been made," Cunningham said.
The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance continues to seek investors, Cunningham noted, in both its "rollup fund" and in the Cobbler's Bench building.
"Together, with the continued support from Ticonderoga's citizens and business community, this first and bold step brings Montcalm Street one step closer to regaining its historic role," Cunningham said.