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Reconstruction of abandoned Bresee's building complete

By ANNA MEILER

ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The Bresee's building has a long history in Oneonta, drawing people to the streets for 100 years.

"It had everything that Oneonta ever needed. People would come down and they would come down and shop the rest of the shops on Main Street," said Kathy Verrelli, co-owner of Theresa's Emporium, one of the businesses occupying the bottom floor of the new Bresee's building.

Bresee's left in 1994 and the building sat abandoned for over 10 years, slowly deteriorating into a state of disrepair.

"The leakage inside it looked like a scene from Beirut as far as things hanging off the ceilings and we had to pull it apart piece by piece," said Chip Klugo, the building owner and developer.

After three years of reconstruction, the old department store is now made up of 12 luxurious apartments ranging in size and style. Four businesses will occupy the bottom floor.

"I think this is wonderful for the area. When I grew up I used to go to Bresee's all the time so just coming in here has been a thrill for my sister and I. It's wonderful being in here," said Verrelli.

When Bresee's moved out, the streets lost their usual hustle and bustle. Now that the building is coming back to life, local businesses hope to feel the effects.

"I think it's going to pick up with businesses. Hopefully we'll see more businesses start in Oneonta. There's a a lot of vacancies in the buildings on Main Street," said Bryan Trotti, owner of restaurant Boudreaux N Thibodeaux.

Klugo called this project the challenge of his lifetime, but he's happy he filled the hole on Main Street. He hopes it's a trend that doesn't stop here.

"We hope that this will continue on as far as the upper housing. It's white and blue collar type of living and the quality of living. It's the quality of life if you work here in the local community that we can provide that type of service to you and it's very important. And again, that will create foot traffic on the Main Street which helps the merchants on the first floor of all the retail spaces," said Klugo.

But, if you'd like to live in one of the twelve apartments, you'll have to put your name on a waiting list.

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