Press Building One Year After Fire

By Lindsay Nielsen

December 21, 2011 Updated Dec 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Tonight marks the one year anniversary of a devastating fire that destroyed two buildings in downtown Binghamton.

Chenango Street only just re-opened to the public earlier this month.

Nearly one year ago today Action News brought you the first inside look at 19 Chenango Street after it sustained severe water damage from the fire.

Now after millions of dollars of repair and countless hours of hard work many are wondering, what's in the future for this building?

All of the tenants that occupied the Professional Towers have moved to other locations.

"We have some proposals out and hopefully we'll be successful in bringing them back to the building but at this point there's no sense in reconstructing the building until we have some level of commitment of somebody as to what direction we're going in," says owner of the building and Greater Binghamton Development, Mark Yonaty.

For Yonaty its been a long road to recovery.

He says although most companies working on the building were fair, some he feels were not.

"Way over-charged us they try to penetrate your insurance policy. Hopefully I don't ever go through something like this again. Now I know what to expect and how to handle it differently," says Yonaty.

Yonaty says it will take millions of additional dollars to completely restore the building.

"We certainly don't have a lot of money to help assist him but there are some things that came out in the new regional competition. We'll certainly try to help him in any way we can if it fits with the regional economic development plan," says Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan.

The building has now been deemed structurally safe.

Now it's just a matter of getting people back, and once again restoring the more than one hundred year old building.

Sometimes, like I said, having a clean slate allows you to do more creative things than you were restricted to before. Hopefully there will be a silver lining in this horrible fire that happened a year ago," says Mayor Ryan.

Owner of the Midtown Mall Larry Gladstone says full- scale construction will begin early next year.

Mayor Ryan says other student housing projects including 20 Hawley Street and Twin River Commons are also back on track with construction.