Nine Downtown Revitalization Projects Enhance Business and Housing Opportunities; Improve Streetscape Walkability and Public Spaces; and Expand Arts and Cultural Amenities
Project Renderings Available Here
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced nine transformational projects in the City of Norwich as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award. The Awards will leverage the community's rich historic, cultural and natural resources, attracting residents and visitors to downtown.
"The Downtown Revitalization Initiative aids localities in making strategic investments that allow communities across New York State to flourish," Governor Hochul said. "These projects will assist in transforming Norwich's downtown area and enhance daily life for those who live, work and shop there. It will also provide Norwich with the jumpstart it needs to deliver on job creation and further stimulate the local economy."
The City of Norwich is the major population center in Chenango County and a hub for commerce, education, services and tourism. Norwich's revitalization is focused on adaptive reuse of historic buildings, enhancing the public realm, park spaces and the arts, promoting connectivity and attracting commuters to live and tourists to visit downtown.
The investments are part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the economy and create more opportunities within the Southern Tier Region. The DRI is led by the Department of State, which provides technical assistance as each participating community develops a Strategic Investment Plan identifying specific projects with a unique vision for the revitalization of the downtown area.
The specific projects to be funded through the DRI support several goals and strategies contained in the community's Strategic Investment Plan, such as - enhancing business and housing opportunities by redeveloping and repurposing existing buildings; improving streetscape walkability and public spaces; and expanding arts and cultural amenities. The $9.7 million State investment in these projects through the DRI will leverage additional public and private investments as the revitalization process proceeds and builds momentum.
The projects include:
Enhance Business and Housing Opportunities by Redeveloping and Repurposing Existing Buildings
Creating the Downtown Norwich Boutique Hotel - DRI Award: $3,360,000
Create a new, boutique hotel that will bring approximately 45 high-quality hotel rooms to the heart of downtown Norwich. The hotel will also feature an event room and a café.
Rehabilitating the Unguentine Building - DRI Award: $3,006,000
Redevelop more than 10,000 square feet of new commercial space and approximately two dozen new apartments to activate a long-vacant, historic building.
Rehabilitating the Heritage Building - DRI Award: $292,000
Activate the historic Heritage Building with a healthy food market and local brewery.
Rehabilitating 15-19 Lackawanna Avenue - DRI Award: $140,000
Install facade improvements and interior renovations to create apartments and retail space in some of Norwich's oldest buildings.
Establishing the Downtown Norwich Small Project Grant Fund - DRI Award: $600,000
Create a matching grant fund to help property owners improve their buildings or beautify the public realm.
Improve Streetscape Walkability and Public Spaces
Enhancing the American Avenue Streetscape - DRI Award: $470,000
Create a safer and more welcoming American Avenue with better lighting, more amenities and a brand-new look and feel.
Improving East, West and Library Parks - DRI Award: $1,097,000
Upgrade Norwich's three central parks to expand programming and support more events.
Expand Arts and Cultural Opportunities
Upgrading the Chenango Arts Council's Martin Kappel Theater - DRI Award: $570,000
Upgrade the seating, lighting and audio-visual equipment in the Martin Kappel Theater for a better all-around experience.
Upgrading the Colonia Theatre - DRI Award: $165,000
Upgrade the Colonia Theatre with new and improved seating, a digital addition to the historic marquee and more family-friendly entertainment options.
New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "This Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award strengthens the City of Norwich's efforts to transform its downtown into a vibrant hub of activity while continuing to highlight its charming historic character. The projects rehabilitate the Unguentine Building into much-needed commercial and residential space; create a new boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Norwich; enhance the lighting and seating of the Martin Kappel and Colonia Theatres; and upgrades the City's East, West, and Library Parks. These investments will contribute to attract residents and visitors to this premiere destination in the Central New York Region and the entire State. Congratulations to the residents of Norwich, and I look forward to seeing the success of these projects."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "This Southern Tier city is already a Chenango County hub, but these upgrades to city parks, streets and arts venues will make Norwich even more appealing to residents and tourists alike. From a new hotel and a historic building-turned-brewery to theater improvements, the DRI is investing in a place where people want to work, play and stay."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has proven to be a successful strategy for transforming our downtowns into thriving communities where people want to live and work. The nine awards today for Norwich will provide more quality housing options and amenities to attract residents to downtown, while also enhancing the visitor experience for the city's burgeoning arts and cultural industry."
State Senator Fred Akshar said, "The Norwich community is long overdue for attention from Albany and these revitalization funds will help breathe new life and opportunity into our community."
Assemblymember Joseph Angelino said, "I am pleased to see such robust and comprehensive investment being injected into the Norwich community which will enhance our residents' quality of life and strengthen our cultural appeal. Facilitating foot traffic in our downtown area and providing local access to housing is a win-win for our small businesses, our residents, and the entire tourism economy as we work to build up the Southern Tier Region of our state. As a life-long Norwich resident, I thank those stakeholders who advocated strongly for these awards and I am excited to see these projects come to fruition."
Downtown Revitalization Initiative
New York State's DRI, a cornerstone of its economic development program, transforms downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers that offer a high quality of life and are magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, and economic and housing diversity. Led by the Department of State with assistance from Empire State Development, Homes and Community Renewal and NYSERDA, the DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative "plan-then-act" strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation and results in compact, walkable downtowns that are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the State's bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles. More information on the DRI is available here.