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EXPLAINED: What’s inside the proposal to transform former Chemung Trust building in downtown Auburn?

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

As Auburn seeks $2 million in grant funding to rehabilitate and develop the former Chemung Trust Building into a mixed use space with housing, the city’s mayor Jimmy Giannettino says it’s a great opportunity to build on downtown success.

The plan is a private-public partnership with Flaum Management leading the private side, as the City of Auburn seeks $2 million from the Restore NY grant program. The total cost of the project is expected to exceed $7 million.

It isn’t necessarily a new concept: A mixed use space with housing and retail businesses has been discussed for years there. This plan involves creating 14 apartments on the upper floors and leaving the lower level for retail.

The state grant dollars would ultimately help offset the costs that have increased since the project was originally proposed in 2019.

“I had the opportunity to tour the building with the property manager,” Mayor Giannettino said on Inside the FLX last week. “They’ve actually taken some positive steps already, putting a roof on the building, stopping some water damage.” He said the company is already in talks with others in the community about potential options for that first floor mixed use space.

“Even if we get the grant, it may not be for the full $2 million,” Giannettino continued, noting that any funds received as part of the Restore NY grant would be used to get construction going. “It’d be a great addition to downtown. We’ve got a couple new businesses that just opened up, and having 14 apartments for people living downtown just helps small businesses.”

The Mayor says the work that’s gone into downtown over the last decade to transform it into what it is today goes well-beyond politics. “There’s been a host of folks over the last 10 years who have invested in downtown Auburn – restaurants, bars, coffee shops – things like that, and there’s already a tremendous number of apartments downtown with demand to match, so we’re building on success.”

If the grant money came through this year, the new housing units could be online by 2026.