MAIN STREET LANDMARK
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – The most prominent available property in Cooperstown’s downtown – the former CVS pharmacy at 100 Main St., vacant for two years now – went on the market for $1.4 million in the past few days.
“I’ve already shown it,” said Nancy Angerer, who has the listing with Lamb Realty.
Back-up material prepared for potential buyers reports the building contains almost 1,000 square feet of space, 4,914 for retail on the first floor and 4,738 for storage in the basement.
But in a tour of the property Tuesday, July 16, Angerer noted zoning allows the property to be built up 42 feet above the sidewalk, meaning two stories of “mixed uses” – apartments or offices – could be added to the structure.
Walking out the back, she pointed to the west-side rear wall, which she said might be opened up to allow cars to park in the basement. That would further enhance the value of the upper floors.
The realtor said she is bringing in a structural engineer to determine the basement’s capacity.
The original stone building on the site was occupied by The Stone Jug, the only establishment on the block to survive the 1860s fire that destroyed most of the downtown, Angerer said she discovered in researching it at The Fenimore Research Library.
In 1931, the building was razed to make way for a Newberry’s, and originally included a full center staircase leading shoppers to basement-floor offerings. It later was occupied by a Grand Union supermarket.
In the 1980s, the Gilson family of the Greater Boston Area, which owned the building, leased it to CVS, which ran a pharmacy there until two years ago, when it moved into a new building with a drive-thru pharmacy window near the village’s south entry.
According to Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, the property is zoned “business,” which allows stores, personal service shops, banks, offices, restaurants, theaters, auditoriums and gymnasiums there.
Also allowed would be “mixed occupancy” – stores on the ground floor in combination with businesses and apartments above, she said.
“If there are exterior changes,” said Falk, “they would have to go through the H-PARB,” the village’s Historical Preservation & Architectural Review Board.
If construction, such as two additional stories, was contemplated, or if the building were razed to build something new, the site plan would have to be reviewed by the village Planning Board.
Falk said Village Hall had made queries with the owners about “about whether it was going to go on the market, before we knew it was going on the market.”
As she understands it, CVS’ long-term lease with the owners expires in September.
Asked if Village Hall plans to play a role in the property’s redevelopment, the deputy mayor said, “We’re watching, but at this point it’s a private business transaction between the owner and the potential buyer.”
She said Angerer had shown her the basement space in recent days. “It’s pretty amazing down there,” Falk said.