In July 2016, the BLDC applied for a third New York Main Street Grant to address commercial building façades and residential needs in and near the intersection of Front and Main Street at the western approach to the downtown. The project proposes to address up to 19 mixed-use buildings aligned along the eastern end of Main Street which are part of the Susquehanna Urban Cultural Park and are local landmarks or adjoin the district. They are subject to local design review by the Commission on Architecture & Urban Design (CAUD). The majority of the structures have experienced disinvestment in the last 50 years that follows the wider regional and upstate economic decline in manufacturing capacity, population loss and rising levels of poverty. The properties comprise a cohesive “Main Street” and the goal is to improve the visual attributes of this western approach to our downtown and thereby make the district more attractive for tenant businesses while improving upper-story residential capacity to help grow a live-work population. A number of the buildings have 19th century storefronts that have been heavily modified and are unsympathetic with the upper stories; restoration of these spaces would augment the storefronts in the adjacent downtown Court Street State and National Register Historic District. This project plans to stimulate the renovation. The grant was awarded on December 8, 2016 and could result in the award of at least 40 residential units and 5 commercial units.
The NYMS Target Area was identified in the 2014 City of Binghamton Comprehensive Plan as a major gateway. In recent years, center city Binghamton has experienced marked growth with an infusion of student housing, restaurants, bars, craft brewers, and hotels among other investments. Binghamton University is constructing the new Southern Tier High Technology Incubator a block east of Governmental Plaza. The project’s goal is to extend the positive momentum to the western corridor, one of the major approaches to the downtown. As with past Main Street programs, the BLDC will extend construction or secondary financing to complement traditional bank financing. Construction jobs will be created in the short term; increased retail business ownership or employment will be facilitated in the long term.