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April 11, 2022 - 4:26pm

Dinner, dancing ... and an overnight stay may be in downtown Batavia's future

posted by Joanne Beck in news, business, notify, downtown batavia, BID, chamber of commerce.

img_1007jcpenney.jpg

If Yong Guang Ye gets his wish, the California businessman will more than double his investment at 40 Batavia City Centre.

Better known as the former JC Penney store in downtown Batavia, the property was purchased by Ye in February 2021. The price tag was $500,000. He has asked his realtor, Jonathan Maurer of Pyramid Brokerage Co. in Fairport, to list the site for sale at a cool $1.3 million.

Maurer has spoken with Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President Eric Fix and Business Improvement District Executive Director Shannon Maute about prospects for the site.

“I’m trying to understand what the community would want,” Maurer said Monday to The Batavian. “A hotel would be amazing … we’re pursuing a hotel; we don’t have any strong leads yet, it’s too soon to tell. The priority is to find the best use for the space.”

The selling price is not out of range given the open floor space, “which I think is a value, given the size of the building,” he said, plus a roof repair in progress.

The buyer is a commercial real estate developer, and does not own any other property in New York State, Maurer said.

Based on his talks with the county and downtown representatives, the first goal would be to renovate it for an event space, with the second goal being a downtown hotel. It has been “difficult to find the right user” so far, he said, due to the site’s limited visibility and entrance/exit set-up.

BID Executive Director Shannon Maute said she could easily see a boutiquey micro-hotel situated within the 38,584 square-foot building. This area is lacking a venue for conferences and special events, she said, and the property is zoned for all of that, including building on two additional floors.

It has often been said that Batavia is a perfect location for being in between Buffalo and Rochester, and Maute would like to capitalize on that. "If you had family in Buffalo and Rochester, Batavia would be the perfect place to have a wedding or an event," she said.

“There definitely is a need for that,” she said Monday. “We’re still open to any ideas, but the goal is for (Maurer) to have an idea of what the need is. We try to work closely together, and Eric agreed on what should and should not go in there. The city would have to weigh in on an idea.”

She would not elaborate on what they felt should not go into the site.

Fix was not available for comment. 

Previously: Vacant Penney building purchased by West Coast businessman

Photo by Howard Owens

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