By Jessica Cohen
Article via the Times Herald-Record
Posted Jul. 3, 2015 at 6:15 PM
Updated Jul 3, 2015 at 10:04 PM
PORT JERVIS – The rehabilitation of Pike Plaza by Ellicott Development Co. is moving forward, according to Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker, who said he has spoken weekly with Ellicott CEO William Paladino.
The company, with a history of taking on such projects, bought the defunct plaza three years ago. Paladino said he has worked with buildings in worse condition and articulated a vision for the plaza two years ago that has slowly been taking shape.
Ellicott built a new 14,900-square-foot Rite Aid in front of the plaza, replacing the one that had occupied a plaza store. Next to it, Ellicott rebuilt the Burger King with new decor. And, in conjunction with police and city officials, it redirected traffic flow to make the plaza more accessible and visible, addressing issues cited by prospective merchants. But the plaza itself has yet to become functional.
Meanwhile, Ellicott’s general contractors from Buffalo, who worked on the Rite Aid construction, left without paying local subcontractors.
“(Paladino) felt responsible for figuring it out, so he’s settling with the subcontractors,” Decker said. “His company is hiring contractors, and he’ll hire subcontractors, cutting out the middle man.”
Meanwhile, Decker said, “Asbestos has been completely removed, and material for the roof has been delivered.”
Roofing materials are piled in front of the plaza as old roofing is ripped off and discarded in a trailer by the old train turntable, he said. Particularly important, new drains are being installed in low areas of the roof.
Three years ago, the ceiling of the Dollar General collapsed on a rainy night – the result of a settling of the building that tilted both floor and roof, so water collected on the roof, rather than running down drains. That and long-term neglect by the plaza’s previous owner led to the building’s deterioration. Safety considerations required that businesses vacate the building.
Soon, Decker said, “Ellicott will begin building the façade, and they’ll cap the parking lot. They’ll put on a new blacktop coat, and you’ll start to see aesthetic changes within two months, maybe two weeks.”
“The façade will be painted Erie Railroad colors, reddish brown and yellow,” Decker said. “The interior will develop according to tenants’ needs and aesthetics. There were seven storefronts, but it could be split differently. Mr. Paladino’s goal is to get tenants in by September. He has parties very interested in the plaza, but he asked me not to say more, while he works on contracts.”