After decades of false starts, the historic Ossining Bank for Savings may finally receive a long-awaited makeover.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Beaux Arts building was constructed in 1908 and operated as a bank for 75 years. For the following two decades, the property moved through a series of owners before it was handed over to the village of Ossining in 2003. Though it remains a striking focal point at the crossroads of Main Street and Route 9, the array of owners and various design ideas have left much of the floors, walls and ceilings mangled beyond repair.
An ambitious renovation is planned for the vacant 5,200-square-foot property at 200 Main St., one that includes gutting the dilapidated, water-damaged interior and transforming the landmark into a food hall, bar and restaurant and state-of-the-art culinary kitchen.
Intrigued by successful concepts that have sprouted up in other cities, including Exit 4 Food Hall in Mount Kisco, developer Wulf Lueckerath of Corinthian Group LLC plans to bring something similar to the 100-year-old structure. Five to six vendors will take up residence in the 3,098-square-foot ground floor food hall, serving everything from coal-fired pizzas to Asian food. A winding staircase will lead visitors to the second-floor, a 3,758-square-foot restaurant and dining space.
The basement, which Lueckerath said is “like a swimming pool in some areas,” will be transformed into a 1,643-square-foot space accommodating two to three culinary kitchens. An elevator will connect the three concepts.
“Because of where we are in Ossining, we’re trying to do something more family-oriented in a lot of ways and not too high end,” Lueckerath said.
Corinthian Group was chosen as the village’s preferred developer for the site after responding to a request for proposal last year, and the village has high hopes for the dining space he envisions.
“His energy and excitement feels very different” compared with other developers who have expressed interest in the site previously, said Lori Lee Dickson, corporation counsel to the village. “He’s a different kind of developer, and we have no reason to believe that (the food hall) is not going to be huge success.”
The estimated $1.5 million renovation, which will preserve much of the exterior architecture, is expected to begin once the sale has closed in August. After the initial removal of the damaged interior, Lueckerath said he plans to “let the bones dry out a little bit” while presenting ideas and listening to feedback from the various village boards. Construction is expected to take between nine to 10 months and, ideally, the food hall would open to the public in late summer or fall of next year.
“It’s still a long ways until we get there,” he said.
The Mount Kisco developer has a good deal of experience rehabbing abandoned and distressed properties for alternative uses, including transforming a Poughkeepsie property acquired from the Archdiocese of New York into housing for military veterans, renovating a warehouse, also in Poughkeepsie, into nine one-bedroom units with four retail spaces and, closer to home, re-leasing a vacant industrial building at 73 Spring St. in Ossining as a 19-unit condominium.
Lueckerath hopes the changes planned for the historic bank will serve as a catalyst to spark a revitalization in Ossining’s downtown.
“More and more restaurants will see that this area can support restaurants,” he said. “Because right now, it’s a quiet, gloomy area in the evenings.”
Along with an increase in foot traffic and an added “energy and buzz” to the area, Dickson said the village also sees an opportunity for food hall vendors to eventually branch out and open their own downtown storefronts. Village Mayor Victoria Gearity, who recused herself from the project because her husband has business dealings with the Corinthian Group on another property, said the community would enjoy the financial benefit of the site returning to the tax rolls, and she also hopes the space’s renovations have a trickledown effect for the rest of Ossining.
“There’s really no reason why there shouldn’t be more and more projects and people coming here,” Lueckerath said.