A downtown Binghamton apartment complex plans to add a dozen new units through a mix of new construction and repurposing existing space.
OCSH Binghamton Holdings, owner of The Club on Washington at 257 Washington St., aims to grow from 13 market-priced apartments to 25 during a $756,560 renovation project. Developers have applied for small business incentives through the Broome County Industrial Development Agency, and on Monday the Agency’s governance committee approved sales tax exemptions for the project until $37,176 over 12 months.
The project includes the conversion of existing apartments into one-bedroom units and studios, and the construction of five new studios on the lower level of the building.
The two-story brick structure at the corner of Washington and East Clinton streets once served as the Binghamton Boys Club, then as the Binghamton Boys & Girls Club when the national nonprofit changed its name.
It was built in 1926 as the Eagles Club Lodge, according to town planning reports. OCSH Binghamton Holdings purchased the property in 2009, when the club moved to new facilities on Clinton Street.
The renovation project also includes the construction of a community hall, the replacement of windows, the installation of heat pumps in the renovated apartments and new studios, a modernized access control system, as well as a new roof and new doors on the south side of the building.
The majority of the current apartments on site are multi-bedroom units. OCSH Binghamton Holdings had difficulty filling these units and opted to convert the entire building to a mix of one-bedroom and studio units better suited to meet market demands.
“I have four one-bedroom units that are always full, always rented out,” developer Kevin Finley said. “It’s something that hurts me from an operational and economic return. My vacancies in large units are way too high. It’s above 30%.
Finley noted that The Club on Washington does not rent to undergraduates, but is popular with graduate students, medical students on clinical rotations and doctors in residence. Finley said the downtown one-bedroom units have also proven attractive to government workers, engineers, lawyers and the self-employed.
“The vacancy rate is currently very low for this type of equipment,” said Stacey Duncan, the agency’s chief executive.
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The vote on sales tax exemptions for the project moves from the governance committee to the full board on Wednesday.
Club on Washington accommodations feature hardwood floors, modern kitchens and bathrooms, and energy-efficient LED lighting. Some have exposed brick and steel beams in the chic industrial aesthetic.