Ribbon cutting slated for prominent downtown Cortland building


CORTLAND, N.Y. — A prominent building on Main Street that has been unoccupied for the past 13 years is finally getting a shot at a new life.

There will be a ribbon cutting for the three-story brick building at 51-55 Main Street on Monday, Feb. 26, at 11:30 a.m.

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be in attendance, along with Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin and other local officials. Following the event, Hochul will tour downtown Cortland and visit local businesses with Mayor Tobin.

The building has been vacant since 2005, when one of the tenants of the building intentionally set it on fire in an attempt to claim $100,000 in insurance money. Andrea Stevens, who owned Smooch's beauty and gift store, was convicted of third-degree arson in 2010 and served one year in prison.

Along with Steven's store, the fire destroyed several apartments, an art gallery, and an antiques store.

Since the fire, the city has received a number of grants from the state to renovate the structure. The upper two floors of the building are being made into eight apartments, and a retail business is expected to occupy the first floor.