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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • City manager: Developer walked away from Elmira project

  • An emergency demolition of several large buildings in downtown Elmira is expected to begin today, and the city manager isn't happy about having to do it, saying the owner “basically walked away” from his plans to renovate them.
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  • An emergency demolition of several large buildings in downtown Elmira is expected to begin today, and the city manager isn’t happy about having to do it, saying the owner “basically walked away” from his plans to renovate them.
    The long-vacant buildings at 106-114 W. Water St. that housed the former Rosenbaum’s and Marvin’s stores were the subject of various plans by at least three different developers over the past decade to renovate them into a mix of storefronts and upper-floor apartments.
    None of those plans materialized. The current owner, Long Island real estate developer Uri Kaufman, abandoned the project, said Elmira City Manager Kim Balok Middaugh.
    “He left the properties in a horrible state of decay,” Middaugh said. “Not only were they an eyesore, but they were also a hazard to the public.”
    City officials ordered an emergency demolition, and a section of West Water Street was blocked off Monday as crews prepared to knock the buildings down.
    Middaugh said the city will take legal action to force Kaufman to foot the bill.
    She said he hasn’t given any indication of what he’ll do with the properties after the demolition.
    Kaufman did not return a message left by The Leader on Monday.
    Middaugh says the city will work with officials from Chemung County and Southern Tier Economic Growth in an attempt to redevelop the site.

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