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Watkins building becomes next renovation project

WATKINS GLEN—The building at 215 South Madison Ave. in Watkins Glen, also known as the “Flatiron building,” is being turned into apartments and commercial space.
The building is owned by Josh and Lisa Navone.  He said the space will be turned into four apartments, one of which is already complete.  Navone said the two bought the property in May, 2009, and hopes to have the building complete in March, 2010.
The rest of the apartments are mostly complete.  Navone said the first floor will be for commercial space, and it is still open to be rented.  He explained the commercial space is ideal for an office or store front, but they are open to other types of businesses.  Navone said he has done several showing for the apartments, and another open house will be scheduled in about three weeks.
The inside is not the only thing being worked on.  Navone said new sidewalks are already in place outside, and new energy efficient windows and doors are also on the list.  Lighting will put in to highlight the building at night.  Navone added there will be a parking lot in the back.
Navone said the work Bruce Nelson is doing in Montour Falls on the Montour House is what inspired the two of them to renovate the Flatiron building.  He said Nelson set the precedent to create upscale, but affordable housing in Schuyler County.
This isn’t the first project for the Navones.  He explained they have renovated a number of buildings in the area, each project getting a little bigger than the last.  Navone said he has renovated 204 North Franklin Street, his first apartment, and a 1865 building on Church Street, in Elmira.
The building, where Fourth Street curves down to Franklin Street, has been immortalized as one of best known turns on the original racetrack course.  It is known as Milliken’s Corner, where driver Bill Milliken rolled his car in 1948, but was unharmed.
For information on the apartments, people can call Realty U.S.A at 607-733-6600.  

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