Seeing progress is believing projects

Loujane Johns
The Garrett Winery building project has begun with demolition.

Seeing is believing, the old adage goes, and Finger Lakes Economic Development Center CEO Steve Griffin told board members at the group’s Dec. 15 meeting work is now visible on three large projects.

A lot of activity can be seen at the old Garrett Winery on the corner of Water and Liberty Street in Penn Yan. Exterior walls have been opened revealing the interior which is planned to house a restaurant and commercial space.  

The old winery is one phase of the Waterfront Revitalization project for the Village of Penn Yan.  The village was awarded $2.5 millionRestore New York Grant in Sept. 2009. Of the total amount, $750,000 is designated for the Garrett building, owned by Vince Rosato.

South of the Garrett project, at Best Western on Brown Street, an adjacent  house has been torn down to make room for an expansion of the hotel.  A 7700 sq. ft. addition will provide 13 new rooms and allow expansion of some areas in the present facility.

Members approved a $100,000 loan to Penn Yan Hospitality later in the meeting for a $750,000 project. The need for more rooms was noted due to the influx of tourists to the area.

Ground was broken on Oct. 18 for the third project, Magnus Ridge Winery on State Route 14, just north of the Schuyler County line. 

Griffin says construction has started and exterior walls are standing.  Completion of the first phase of the "country estate design winery," owned by Matt and Sandra Downey of Cazenovia is scheduled for spring.

Other business at the FLEDC?meeting included:

•INCUBATOR:  Sketches of the Horizon Park Incubator were shown to board members.  The facility will accommodate a large space for Coach & Equipment to use for vehicle painting operations, which will free up space now being used by the company at Keuka Business Park.

The remainder of the 13,760 sq. ft. building will be used for the launch of small businesses. Once these businesses are up and running, they may move on to other locations.

The steel panel construction insulated building will be located in the Horizon Business Park on State Route 14A just south of the village of Penn Yan.

• GRANT:  The hamlet of Branchport, through the Town of Jerusalem,  has received a grant to develop a master plan in anticipation of increased business as the result of the building of the Finger Lakes Museum.

• APPLICATION :  Ryan Hallings, vice president of community development for FLEDC, announced an application has been approved for Premium Co-Pack of Dundee for the Empire Zone.  Although the Empire Zone, as such, has been discontinued by the state, this application was presented before the cut-off date.

• MICRO BUSINESS:  Hallings announced the approval of three applications for micro -enterprises in Dundee.

• CLUSTER PINES : Griffin and Hallings showed sketches of plans for Cluster Pines on State Route 14 in the Town of Starkey.  The former convenience store/gas station has been purchased by David Bunnell and Olaf Lieberg of Geneva.  

Griffin says the building will change very little in size, but will have a total new look.  Plans call for micro-brew and wine tasting and some convenience items, but the selection will lean towards a local food concept.

The total project including property acquisition is estimated at $908,000.

The board approved a short State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) and a resolution granting incentives.

• FACILITY:  With a roll call vote, all members approved a $32,000 sale of 1.6 acres of land at Horizon Business Park to Java Gourmet, AKA Keuka Coffee Roasters  to build a 6,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility..

• YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS:  Hallings and Griffin discussed the YEA! program in which high school students learn to create their own business.  About 60 young people have participated in the program in the Dundee and Penn Yan Schools.  Members agreed to continue a $750 contribution to the programs in the coming year.

• LEASES:  A one year lease with Catholic Charities at Keuka Business Park was renewed.  A six month lease  extension with Badger Technologies at the same facility was approved.

• APPRECIATION:  Chairman Kevin Bailey recognized that it would be the last meeting for board member Jerry Hiller, of Keuka College.  He thanked Hiller for his many years of service on the board and as a newer member, Bailey said Hiller had taught him a lot.

In wrapping up the year Griffin says he is very pleased that FLEDC has approved 38 projects this year.  

He also pointed out that Red's Hots, owned by Ray Spencer on State Route 14 had such a successful  first year that Spencer is looking to expand.  Plans call for a drive-though and other improvements.

Another State Route 14 business, 11 Lakes Hop Farm is moving ahead with plans for a tasting room, according to Griffin.