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$20 Million Plans to Rehab Historic First Ward Factory

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Since Broome County began owning the historic First Ward Cigar & Ansco Camera Factory, located at 6 Emma St, Binghamton, the County and the City of Binghamton have been working together to find a way to revitalize the massive four-story building into a viable economic opportunity, while still maintaining its historic value. Monday, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar and Mayor Rich David announced the factory will soon be utilized for both commercial and residential use.

"The plan is to sell [the factory] to Paulus Development, who is planning a $20 million mixed-use development," said Broome County Executive, Jason Garnar.

Matthew Paulus, owner of Paulus Development (a privately owned real estate firm from Syracuse), will use the $20 million by; rehabilitating the factory's structural conditions to accommodate 50,000 square feet of commercial space for local companies, and adapting the factory's industrial physique to create 97 market-rate lofts for permanent residents. Creating over 100 temporary construction jobs for this project.

But for those that worry about the loss of a historical landmark, Paulus said 'not to worry.' "The historic preservation, from our perspective, is a big...big part of what we are doing here," said Matthew Paulus. In 2012, First Ward Cigar & Ansco Camera Factory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed in 1927, the factory provided Binghamton with 50 years of business, eventually closing its doors for good and remaining a small operation.

According to Mayor David, who's administration has been working strongly to fight blight in the city, by revitalizing the urban areas of Binghamton it will support and attract businesses that will "create an environment for private investment and entrepreneurship."

With 97 living-units and a rejuvenated commercial setting in the City's sight, revitalization projects like the First Ward Cigar & Ansco Camera Factory aims to spread a growing economic area surrounding the building.  "It will be a big economic driver," said Matthew Paulus. "These are the types of developments where people want to live in," said Jason Garnar

The mixed-use development is currently in the pre-construction phase, but Paulus said he hopes to begin construction by 2018.