Bailey Place plans renovation project for 'Blue Roof Building'

CORTLAND, N.Y. - The iconic "blue roof building" that rests at the north end of downtown Cortland is getting a major makeover.

The building at 2 N. Main St., which houses Bailey Place Insurance, will undergo a $500,000 façade improvement project beginning June 12. It will involve replacing the blue roof with a shingled roof, as well as improvements to the columns, signage, landscaping, and masonry work, the insurance company said in a press release.

Steve Franco, who owns the building and serves as president of Bailey Place Insurance, says he has been wanting to make the change for some time.

"This is an investment in our vibrant downtown district, and a tribute to the history of Cortland that can be traced back to this property," Franco said.

The site is the former home of Hotel Cortland, a landmark that was once known throughout central New York for its architecture and accommodations. The site was purchased by the city of Cortland in 1974 as part of an urban renewal project but was soon demolished.

The property was vacant for a number of years until Jim Place, of Place Insurance, purchased the site with three partners and constructed what is today referred to as the blue roof building.

Franco is paying for the half-a-million dollar project with the help of a $50,000 Main Street Facade Grant from the city of Cortland.

Phase one of the project has an estimated completion date of August. Phase two of the project, which is expected to be completed sometime in 2018, will feature the redevelopment of the space currently occupied by Family Counseling Services after they relocate to a new facility on the south end of Main Street.

The finished product will be more aligned with the historic nature of the downtown area, the company said.

The building was designed by Jeff Taw of Holmes King Kallquist and Associates of Syracuse. All work will be done by local contractors, including Goddard Roofing, Upstream Construction, Wayne's Stucco and Plastering, Cute Construction and Wade Sprouse.

“Cortland has a burgeoning downtown,” Franco said. “And I’m proud that Bailey Place Insurance can make this type of investment and be part of that revitalization.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the southern end of Main Street as "South Main Street."