June 25, 2009
Clock tower expected to be finished in August
Building’s 16 apartments rented to college students as developer looks to fill commercial space
The $3.7 million clock tower apartment and commercial building at Main and Tompkins streets is nearing completion and should be finished by mid-August.
Doug Arnold, project manager for Hayner Hoyt Corp., said subcontractors are finishing interior work, such as installing dry wall and painting, and brick and roof work on the exterior.
Property owner John Scanlon said he has already rented the buildings’ 16 apartments to college students for the fall semester.
When completed, the three-story brick structure will contain eight apartments on each of the upper floors and about 6,000 square feet on the ground floor will be available for commercial space.
Scanlon said no businesses have signed leases to move into the clock tower yet and he would not release the names of any businesses that are looking to move in the space.
The Syracuse-based Hayner Hoyt Corp. has served as the head contractor for the project and has been overseeing a team of 30 subcontractors from the Cortland and Syracuse areas who have been working on the building.
About two weeks ago, workers completed framework for the cupola that will soon contain the clock and raised an American flag at the top of the building.
“That’s typically done by builders to celebrate the highest point of the building being completed,” Arnold said, noting the tradition started during medieval times with placing a small pine tree on the tops of buildings.
“But we use an American flag because it’s more patriotic than a tree,” Arnold said. “We do it for pretty much all of our projects.”
In addition to the clock tower, Hayner Hoyt Corp. is also building the $19 million Carmello Anthony Basketball Center at Syracuse University and renovating Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.
Arnold noted the triangular shape of the clock tower building required builders to perform special calculations to make sure the steel frame and windows were installed at the proper angles.
“Most construction projects are square and fairly easy to build,” Arnold said. “This one was definitely not conventional.”
The 21,000-square-foot building will replicate an 1883 building that stood on the southwest corner of Main and Tompkins streets until it was destroyed by fire in 2006.
Scanlon said he hoped to use the face of the original tower’s clock in landscaping outside the building or inside the tower’s bottom floor.
In the original tower, the clock was run by a system of weights that required periodic winding by hand and was monitored by Bud Ames, the official city clockwinder for about 30 years.
Scanlon said he has purchased a new, electronic clock for the tower that will automatically reset for daylight savings time.
“It will look identical to the clock in the other tower,” Scanlon added.
In two weeks, the new clock should be installed in the tower, and at the end of July, workers will begin laying asphalt for the buildings’ parking lot and planting shrubs, trees, and other landscaping around the grounds, Arnold said.
In April 2007, the city received a $2 million RestoreNY Communities grant from the Empire State Development Office to assist in the development of the structure.
The Cortland County Industrial Development Agency also gave the building a property tax break that will save the developer more than $220,000 over 10 years.
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