October 9, 2010


Ithaca insurer setting up office in Cortland

InsurerBob Ellis/staff photographer
Rich Andrews, owner of the former Ultimate Music building at 35 Main St. is in the process of renovating the building.

Staff Reporter

The owner of an Ithaca insurance agency plans to open a satellite office in the Main Street building that formerly housed Ultimate Music, retaining some of the space for musicians.
Rich Andrews, 46, owner of Andrews Agency, purchased the building at 35 Main St. in December. The purchase price was about $205,000, he said.
The satellite office will open in January, Andrews said, adding he is looking to hire a part-time customer service representative and a full-time insurance agent.
“To me, it’s an amazing old building. It’s very impressive,” Andrews said.
The granite-faced building was constructed as The First National Bank about 1900, said city assessor David Briggs. It is three stories in the back and two-stories in the front, which total about 9,000 square feet. The basement is an additional 3,103 square feet.
The building is assessed at $175,000, according to the Cortland County Real Property tax services.
The building at the corner of Central Avenue and Main Street has been a haven for local musicians.
Ultimate Music, the former owner of the building, was a music shop that provided customers with music lessons, instruments and equipment.
In April, the death of co-owner Steve Barnes and the sluggish economy prompted Ultimate Music to close, former co-owner Lonnie Park said in April.
Renovations are still under way and include replacing the windows, interior walls, vinyl tile and carpet, and restoring the original terrazzo and putting carpet around the terrazzo.
After the bank moved to Court and Main streets and before Ultimate Music moved in, the building was a disco, a coffee shop and a bar.
Travis Bailey, a former Ultimate Music employee who is assisting Andrews with renovations, said musicians can still enjoy the building like they always have. Lunar Rabbit Studios, a recording studio, is located downstairs. Rooms on the top floors of the building can be rented. A band rents out space for practice sessions.
Andrews said although he is in a field different from music, he enjoys music and wants to keep with the building tradition. Andrews said he was also attracted to Cortland for the amount of small businesses in the area that could be potential clients for his insurance agency. Cortland also seems to be a place that is loyal to locally-owned businesses, Andrews said.
“Cortland is a town that is conducive to business,” he said.

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