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Discovery YMCA building future in limbo as owners, councilwoman forge agreement

A derelict, vacant former YMCA building at the corner of West Fourth and Elmira streets may get new life and be spared from the wrecking ball.

On Thursday, city Councilwoman Liz Miele said she is continuing to iron out details on a memorandum of understanding with the building owners.

Those individuals, Daniel A. Klingerman and Herman Logue, have promised while such an agreement is forged the demolition scheduled for any day after today won’t go foward, Miele said.

“The original demolition permit vote came with an agreement to give Miele and the city 120 days,” said Councilman Randall J. Allison, vice president and chairman of council’s economic revitalization committee.

“From a development standpoint we are in favor of the building being saved especially with the possible reuse of something commercial and retail that would add to the tax rolls and help with business in the city,” Allison said. “I think it would be a win-win for everybody.”

He acknowledged the whole of council has not been as close to the transfer as Miele.

“You are looking at $5 million in cost to renovate,” said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator.

The building lies at the edge of the city Historic District.

“I’ve been approached by a few interested developers,” Miele said.

The next step is to have an agreement outlining a $1 purchase price and lock in a few other variables so any prospective developers know there is a commitment by the existing owners, Miele said.

If schedules align, a meeting to go over the draft and work toward finalizing a transfer would occur within a week a or two, Miele said.

Attempts to reach Klingerman and Logue at The Liberty Group offices were not immediately successful Thursday.

Previously, Klingerman said it would be his preference for Miele to find an interested developer and take the building in a transfer.

The building was constructed in 1923 and served as a boy’s dormitory for children at the YMCA. For many years, the upper levels were YMCA staff offices and lower floor was used as the Children’s Discovery Workshop, educational programs for school-aged children.

Klingerman originally wanted to restore the building into upper-level executive-style apartments and condominiums and lower-level floors and mid-level office space. He decided not to do this when the Marcellus Shale industry slowed down, he told the Sun-Gazette in a prior interview.

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