Middletown’s new plan for the former TD Bank building is to sell it to someone who will renovate it and lease it back to the city, and the city would then sublet it to other tenants.
Two potential tenants have expressed interest in space in the building on South Street, said Mayor Joe DeStefano, although he was vague about whom. One, he said is a “governmental organization;” the other is a private business that would be “more than compatible to the surrounding properties.”
“We don’t want this to become another Tompkins,” DeStefano said, referencing the former department store building on North Street that has been vacant for over a decade.
By selling the building and having the seller renovate it, the city wouldn’t have to spend any money up front, DeStefano said. The building needs extensive work, including repairs to the roof and heating and air conditioning systems and work to make with Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, and the sale and renovation would still need to be put out to public bid.
The city bought the property in 2010, mainly to secure the adjacent parking lots for public use. The old plan had been to move Middletown’s senior center to the TD Bank building and then let the Guild of St. Margaret Soup Kitchen move to the senior center on West Main Street. However, the senior center is a “public assembly” use, which kicks in tougher code and safety requirements, and a year ago the bids on that plan came back at over a half-million more than the city wanted to spend.
Thursday evening, the city Board of Estimate voted to hire the engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee to identify easements or restrictions on access to the property and the parking lots, which they want to do before a sale.
The tenants will be able to use the parking lots, but they would also remain open to the public.
“We’re selling the building, (but) keeping the parking,” said Public Works Commissioner Jacob Tawil.