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Wiss Hotel

Village has no immediate plans for former Wiss Hotel location, but options are open

By Maria Pericozzi

The Wiss Hotel in Le Roy stood on the corner of Route 19 and Main Street for years. It was torn down in 2013, with an empty lot left in its place.

The lot is mainly used once a year for the Le Roy Christmas tree. Some residents expressed concerns about the fate of the property at a town meeting on Aug. 16. Some residents think the lot is working out well as a park of sorts and other residents want it to be paved for more parking.

Le Roy Mayor Greg Rogers said publicly for the first time that the village has received a purchase offer.

"It was in an effort to have total government transparency," Rogers said. "The board wanted people to know that this option is on the table."

The offer, made by Tom Spadaro, came out of the blue, Rogers said.

"We were not marketing the property in any way," Rogers said.

Rogers said they have received other interesting suggestions about how the property could be used and he said he will share them at a later date. Rogers said the other offers were not purchase offers.

"It is highly unlikely that the board would be making a decision before the end of the year," Rogers said.

According to Michael Eula, Ph.D., the Genesee County historian, the Wiss Hotel began as the Globe and Eagle Tavern.

“Sources indicate that it was a two-story building, that initially served as a store,” Eula said.

In a summary of the Wiss Hotel’s history compiled by Eula, in 1802 the hotel was a tavern, also known as a “publick house.” In 1826, the store of Samuel DeVeaux and Rufus Robertson was sold and the new owner named the structure the “Globe and Eagle.” Eventually, after numerous owners, John Wiss bought it and renamed it the Wiss Hotel in 1869.

Eula said the hotel had long been recognized as a source of historical interest.

Le Roy historian Lynne Belluscio has found sources indicating that Daniel Webster once stayed there, Eula said.

“Despite its long history, the hotel eventually fell on hard times,” Eula said.

By 2011, more than $22,000 in back taxes was owed.

“Because the building was in such disrepair at this point, the Genesee County Legislature refused to foreclose on the property,” Eula said. “The legislature saw it as a safety hazard.”

The building was demolished in April of 2013, despite concerned citizens' attempts to save it.

"Right now, we are still listening to the public," Rogers said. "It is not an urgent matter."

Former Wiss Hotel awning restored and hung at the Smokin' Eagle

By Howard B. Owens


The journey for the old awning on the former Wiss Hotel to the Smokin' Eagle was a lot longer than a trip across the street and down the block. It involved a $1 auction purchase, some BOCES students, the chance discovering of a historic photo and a lost cat.

Once the decision was made to tear down the Wiss, the Eagle's co-owner, Jay Beaumont, asked Bob Lathan if the village could save the awning. Beaumont had some vague idea that he might want to install it somewhere on the Eagle building at some point.

Once saved, it was added to the Village's surplus property auction, and with no other buyers, Beaumont was able to purchase it for $1.

Then it sat in the DPW lot for eight months because the awning was in pretty bad shape and Beaumont had no real idea what to do with it or how to restore it. Then through a chance meeting with a BOCES official at his daughter's volleyball game, he found out there was a group of students at BOCES who would love to take on just such a restoration project.

Once those wheels were in motion, Beaumont began to wonder what words once appeared on the awning. There was blank spot for the sign, but no sign.

He called one of the building's former owners, Don Pangrazio, and he had no idea. The next day, Pangrazio saw a post on the website Le Roy Then and Now. It was of the Wiss in the 1930s and included the awning.

The sign read, "Tap Room."

Mystery solved.

And Beaumont acquired a copy of that photo. The photo now hangs on the wall of the Eagle, next to an enlargement of the portion of the hotel with the awning. 

When Beaumont got the enlargement back, he looked it over carefully just to see what he might see, and he saw a sign in the window that read "John Hepps."

About this time, Beaumont's cat went missing. He loves his cat and he was pretty upset. The cat went missing on Father's Day. He had us post about the missing cat on The Batavian and he put up fliers around Le Roy.

On Monday, July 4, still missing his cat, Beaumont went down the Eagle in the morning to hang the pictures. His partner Jon Marcello stopped by and Beaumont said, "hey, look at this," pointing the sign with "John Hepps" on it.

Marcello did a quick Google search and found he had been a contractor in Le Roy.

That evening, Beaumont gets a call from a woman, Rose Marie Betts, who thinks she found Beaumont's lost cat. Beaumont drove over to her house thinking, "this is another false lead."

But it wasn't.

Overjoyed, he took his cat home. She was home. She was safe and she was in good health.

"My couldn’t believe that cat came out of the woods that day," Beaumont said.

Beaumont drove back to Bett's house to give her a reward. She refused the money. He decided, well, maybe he could give her a gift certificate to the Eagle.

He told her he was co-owner of the Smokin' Eagle, "but before I could go any further, she goes, 'My grandfather used to own the Wiss and his name is John Hepps.' I was on a high with the cat, but that took me to the next level. My mouth dropped. I couldn’t believe it."

So Betts and her daughter, Christine, were guests of honor last night at the official unveiling of the restored owning inside the Eagle, which also served as the fourth anniversary of the business and a customer appreciation night.

Top photo: Jon Marcello pulls the string releasing the balloon-filled cover on the Wiss awning for its official unveiling.


Beaumont, with the mic, speaks after the unveiling.


Le Roy Scout has Eagle eye on Wiss Hotel site

By Raymond Coniglio


Grant Hertzler, center, presents a community service project to the Le Roy Village Board on Wednesday. Also pictured, from left, is Trustee Bob Taylor, Mayor Greg Rogers and trustees Bill Kettle and Jim Bonacquisti. Grant, a member of Boy Scout Troop 6016, hopes to beautify the former Wiss Hotel site as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project.

Grant Hertzler has a plan for the former Wiss Hotel site.

And the Le Roy High School junior pitched his idea to a supportive Village Board this week — from a lofty perch.

The mayor’s seat.

Grant, 16, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 6016 in Pavilion. He is pursuing his Eagle Scout rank, which requires him to lead a community service project.

His goal is to beautify the now-vacant hotel site at Main and Lake streets (routes 5 and 19). He was prepared with a laptop computer on Wednesday, to outline the project for the Village Board.

The board wanted a closer look, so Mayor Greg Rogers obliged by offering his seat at the table.

The Wiss Hotel was razed in 2013. The village has since installed an electric service panel for the Community Christmas Tree that is raised on the lot every holiday season, but the lot is otherwise vacant.

Grant said he would give the site a facelift by building a shed to house the electrical panel, leveling the ground and adding mulch and greenery. He would also upgrade the gravel circle where the Christmas Tree usually stands.

“I would either put brick over that, or a more-appealing stone,” he said.

Grant said he would recruit volunteers and obtain donations of material and money.

“This would be at no cost to the village,” he told the board.

Village Board members were encouraging, and even suggested the Department of Public Works could support the project by donating in-kind services.

“I like your ideas,” Trustee Bill Kettle said.

Grant said he hopes to begin work this spring. The project has to be finished by the time he turns 18, and then presented to an Eagle Board of Review.

Grant is the son of Neil and Deb Hertzler, of Le Roy. He picked the Wiss Hotel site because it needs improving — a goal that’s ambitious but manageable.

He agreed to bring detailed drawings and plans back to the board in six weeks.

Trustees had a final question: How did he feel sitting in for the mayor?

“Powerful,” Grant said.

“Don’t be fooled,” Rogers said.

Lathan Tree Service donating 30-foot Christmas Tree to Le Roy community to be placed at Wiss site

By Howard B. Owens

Where the Wiss Hotel once stood this holiday season will stand a huge amount of Christmas cheer thanks to Andrew Lathan, owner of Lathan Tree Service, and his family.

The Lathans are donating a 30-foot tall artificial Christmas tree to the community.

Businesses and families are asked to provide ornaments to the tree. The ornament should have a name or business logo on it.

Ornaments can be dropped off at Town Hall by the end of November.

Ornaments should be at least 6-inches tall. 

"This is a very large tree," the Lathans note. It will be as tall as the existing buildings on the west end of Main Street.

The tree will be lit Dec. 7 as part of the community's holiday celebration.

Pictured are Jack, Jay, Aubrey and Carrie Lathan with the unassembled tree.

Photo: Le Roy's Presbyterian Church without the Wiss

By Howard B. Owens

At one meeting about the future of the Wiss Hotel building, Trustee Jim Bonacquisti said he looked forward to driving south on Route 19 and seeing the Presbyterian Church without the Wiss blocking the view.

After the building was done, Mayor Greg Rogers said, "The other day I had the opportunity after the building was somewhat down to come up Lake Street. My personal opinion is nothing looks more inviting and I'll say more New England than to see a wooden white church with a steeple and and open porch as you drive into a community. It's pretty striking. It really kinds of shows you the place where we all live."

This is a picture taken this morning of the church from behind where the Wiss once stood.

Le Roy mayor wants to see the village take its time on deciding the future of former Wiss property

By Howard B. Owens

Ignore the rumors, whatever they may be, Le Roy Mayor Greg Rogers said tonight during a village board meeting.

If there were any offers for the now vacant lot where the Wiss Hotel once stood, he would know about it, and there have been none.

"Any time you hear a rumor, because I think I'm the guy they have to call first if they want to buy it, don't get in an uproar, because people like to start rumors."

Previously, Rogers had said that by the second meeting in April he would have a plan or an idea of a plan about what to do with the corner of Route 19 and Route 5.

The plan right now, he said, is to wait.

He wants to give the village residents six months to absorb the idea of that empty corner and present ideas about what they think should be done with it.

After six months, he will seek an outside real estate broker to get it appraised and see if there are any suitors. 

Rogers said early on the gas station chain Fast Track contacted the village, but he said he discouraged them.

"They have beautiful stores, but that's not what we're looking for," he said.

At one meeting during the debates about the Wiss, Trustee Jim Bonacquisti said he was looking forward to seeing what it would be like to drive into the village without the Wiss blocking the view of the Presbyterian Church.

"The other day I had the opportunity after the building was somewhat down to come up Lake Street," Rogers said. "My personal opinion is nothing looks more inviting and I'll say more New England than to see a wooden white church with a steeple and and open porch as you drive into a community. It's pretty striking. It really kinds of shows you the place where we all live."

Most of the responsibility for determining what happens with the corner will fall to the village and town planning board, but since the village owns the property, the trustees will have quite a bit of say about what happens with the lot.

And Rogers is mindful that whatever happens, at least half the people will be angry.

"No matter what goes there, half the people are going to be mad and you're looking at five idiots and the other half are going 'that's not so bad,' " Rogers said.

What now?

By bud prevost

Well, the demolition is underway. Whether you agree or disagree with the board's action, you have to commend them for doing something. The Wiss had to go. I appreciate the hard choice that was made, but it's time to move on. What happens now?

First, the view looking east when sitting at the southbound intersection is going to be improved 843%. The Creek, the library, and the school campus are all preferable to  that protruding brick corner that made walking dangerous.

Second, the DOT needs to address a busy intersection that is only going to get busier. Busier? "Why" you may ask. Brings me to

Third, the increase of truck traffic out of the Agri Yogurt park. Do you really believe they will go through the city to hit 98, or take 33 to 490 and backtrack to the thruway? Nope, the majority of trucks gettting on the thruway will proceed through Leroy to 19 north. That is a legitamate concern, and I would recommend we focus our efforts on getting that intersection reconfigured.

Perhaps Mr. Hyde from the GCEDC could help. He seems to have free rein with taxpayer money. Maybe he could pull some strings and make that widened intersection happen. Senator Raz. and Ass. Hawley are extremely enamored by him, so please Steve, help us poor peons in Leroy.

Photo: The Wiss's sagging third floor

By Howard B. Owens

On my way out of Le Roy, I stopped by the Wiss again and got there just before Tim Hens did.

I know from previous conversations, Tim was pretty interested in how a third floor was added to a wood-frame building.

It looks like the third floor was just built right on top of the roof of the original structure. What we're seeing is the back of the original structure and a portion of the added on third floor, which was built across the original structure and a later extension to the back of the building.

The other key thing -- and this picture doesn't really capture it as obviously as it is visible in person -- is how much the third floor and second floor ceiling is sagging.

Hens and Bob Lathan talked about the condition of the building a bit. As you know from our previous tour of the building, there was a sheet of ice on a large portion of the third floor.

Lathan said since then we've have a few thaws and refreezes.

Hens said ice weighs as much as concrete.

Lathan said the string he had stretched through the second floor to measure settling of the building had dropped 3/4 of an inch in the last month.

Though Hens said it's just his opinion and not scientific, based on what he observed today, he doesn't think the building would have lasted through another winter.

Hens said it probably still would have taken a developer gutting the building to accurately access the soundness of the structure.

Photo: Wiss demolition,

By Howard B. Owens

Just a photo to show the progress of the Wiss Hotel demolition.

The final days of the Wiss begins today

By Howard B. Owens

Crews have spent the morning getting the demolition site ready for removing the former Wiss Hotel building from the corner of Main and Lake streets in Le Roy.

The first backhoe whack at a wall will take place sometime after lunch hour.

A supervisor for Empire Dismantlement Corp. said demolition starts at the back of the building and works toward the front. First order of business is to make room for dump trucks to park on the building site.

By Saturday, crews should be ready to take down the front facade. When they get to that point, Main Street will need to be closed for a time.

The building is being taken down "hot," meaning that any existing asbestos in the building has not been removed prior to demolition.

We've also learned that the iron awning that was on the west side of the building has been removed. The owners of the Smokin' Eagle (formerly the Eagle Hotel, and soon to be the last standing old hotel in the Village) plan to use it on their back entrance. Demolition crews will recover the chains that held it to the Wiss when demolition gets to that point.

UPDATE 4:36 p.m.: Had to leave Le Roy a little earlier than anticipated because of the situation at the middle school, but did snap a couple shots following the start of actual demolition.

Wiss demo scheduled to start tomorrow

By Howard B. Owens

Contractors will arrive in the Village of Le Roy tomorrow to start demolition of the former Wiss Hotel building, Mayor Greg Rogers confirmed.

Tomorrow, work crews will begin prep work.The entire demolition process is expected to take about a week.

Letter from Bob Fussell regarding the Wiss Hotel building

By Howard B. Owens

Submitted by Bob Fussell:

It’s a mystery.

On 3-13-13 three trustees voted “no” to sell the Wiss Hotel to the Le Roy LLC for $10,000, and “yes” to pay a Grand Island demolition company $132,000 to destroy the building. The Board also paid almost $4,000 for an asbestos removal study, and will pay between $5,000 and $10,000 more to another company to monitor the air quality during the demolition, making a hit to the taxpayers of at least $151,000, and that’s only what they’ve committed to spend so far.

But it seems that only those three know why they cast those votes. (One of the “no” voters is a member of the Conservative Party, and another is a Republican - parties that say they strongly oppose spending taxpayer dollars.)

One of the three said, about his community, “we’ve gotten better” after other Village buildings were demolished. But, he didn’t tell us if Village taxpayer paid for those demolitions, or present any proof that Le Roy actually got “better” because of the demolitions.

Many Le Royans disagree with that trustee. They believe the demolition of those older buildings is, instead, directly related to our economic decline that’s been spiraling downward at an ever-increasing rate over the last 50 years. This decline, many believe, began decades ago when a mansion was demolished and replaced with what is now Save A Lot.

All three of the “no” voters said they gave the issue “a lot of thought” -- one claiming he “lost sleep over it.” Others claimed they spoke to a lot of “people” about the issue.

But what “people” did they talk to? And, what expertise and knowledge did these people have that convinced the three to vote to demolish?

Taxpayers don’t know the answers to those important questions because the three won’t answer them. (I specifically asked them and they refused to disclose the names of the people they spoke to, as if they were members of a secret club, instead of elected officials in a free and open democracy. I asked them to tell me who they spoke to, because all three admitted they aren’t experts in demolition or rehabilitation, so they had to get their knowledge and information from others.)

All three admit they “respect” the “hard work” done by the LLC. But, of course, that’s because the LLC earned their respect by doing much hard work, such as:

Hiring an outstanding architect to do a study to answer important questions, such as  - (1) Is the structure of the Wiss too far gone to save? And (2) Can the restored building be profitable for investors?

That architect, Rick Hauser, could be the best person in Western New York to answer those questions. He not only obtained a master's degree in architecture from one of the top three architectural schools in America, the University of Virginia, after graduating from Cornell, and teaching architecture at Hobart University, but also, most importantly, has rehabbed buildings that were in much worse condition than the Wiss, and did it in a way that revitalized communities.

Former Le Roy mayor Jim DeLoose said in a comment on The Batavian that, “Le Roy has a very low-median income …. What a developer is willing to spend in Le Roy is much different than what they’re willing to spend in Fairport where the median income is approximately 3 times that of Le Roy’s.” This is an admission that Le Roy has reached such a sorry state of financial decline, that we can’t stand up to Walgreens and get it to construct an architecturally appealing building in our community –the kind of pharmacy stronger communities would require it to build. Our squat WALGREENS building, with its huge, bright neon signs, tells potential newcomers that Le Roy is too weak and poor to have an attractive pharmacy and encourages people, who might otherwise want to live, and pay taxes in Le Roy, to move elsewhere. (I doubt that Fairport’s median income was 3 times that of Le Roy’s in the past. If so, why has Le Roy declined while Fairport prospered? Is it possible that Fairport is better managed than Le Roy?)

And despite what some Le Royans claim, Mr. Hauser doesn’t need the Wiss, or Le Roy, to make a fine living. He’s got plenty of work elsewhere. Unfortunately for Le Roy, we need Rick Hauser, much more that Rick Hauser needs Le Roy.

After conducting his study, Mr. Hauser answered "no" to the first question the LLC asked him and "yes" to the second, so the LLC moved forward in its attempt to save, not just the Wiss, but Le Roy itself.

The LLC then consulted four highly respected local contractors, to investigate the issue -- Joe Condidorio, of Whitney East, Jerry McCoullough, of Ryan, Bryan Colton, of Master Care, and Jim Sickles, of Sickles Corporation. All investigated and agreed the project was doable, and showed interest in the restoration project.

The LLC also prompted research into the question of the owner of the land where the Wiss is located and learned that the State owns part of it, and that once the Wiss is demolished the size of the portion of land left for the construction of a new building will be smaller.

When the LLC asked the architect and contractors what it would cost to rebuild the Wiss after it was demolished, they said it would cost much more because, even though the building is a filthy, moldy mess, the building’s “shell” is still intact, meaning the new (smaller) building would have to be rebuilt from scratch. One contractor said that about 25% of the rehab work is already completed, because the foundation, and the rest of its shell are sound and straight.

One of the three “no” voters said he hopes the community can “respect” their decisions.

But respect is earned, and it takes more than just “thinking” and “talking” to unnamed “people” to earn the respect of the taxpayers – those who will ultimately pay the upcoming huge bills.

Maybe if the three would give us details of the “work” they performed before deciding to cast their “no” votes, they might earn respect.

Maybe if they told us, for example –

  • What studies they relied upon when making their decision? (The Village engineers did a study, but that study doesn’t help them, because it concluded the building can be restored.)
  • The names of the “people” they talked to?
  • The backgrounds these “people” have in building restoration and/or community revitalization?
  • The studies these “people” conducted on the Wiss building, or on the economic condition of Le Roy?
  • The biases or prejudices these “people” might have about the restoration plan?
  • Any agendas any of these “people” might have that led them to hope to make sweet profits for themselves after taxpayers pick up the demolition tab for them?
  • Any facts showing these “people” had no confidence in Le Royans to restore the Wiss. “People” who believe Le Royans aren’t smart, driven or community-minded enough to take care of themselves or their community. ”People” who instead, hope a “Big Brother” corporate power from far away will save us. (“Corporations, who, of course, care only about enriching themselves while impoverishing us -- that is by whisking money out of local pockets and slipping it into their faraway pockets.)

Just think –What if the three “no” voters worked for an independent businessman (instead of the taxpayers of our community) whose building was in serious need of repair and had the choice of accepting an offer to sell it for $10,000 or spending a bare minimum of $151,000, to demolish it. And this boss trusted the three to study the question, and to make the right decision. And what if the three came back to him several months later reporting only that they had, “thought about it to the point of losing sleep” and had talked to a lot of “people” and that based on this thinking and talking they rejected the offer to sell, and signed a contract to pay $141,000 of the boss’s money to destroy the building. And when the boss asked the three to tell him the names and qualifications of the people they spoke to before making their decision, the three refused, claiming the names were confidential. How, do you think that boss would react?

In this case, we taxpayers are the bosses of those three. What should we do with them?

It’s great that Le Royans are very concerned about their History.
But, don’t you think it's time we get as involved in our future as we are in our past?

The vote is final: The Wiss Hotel building will come down

By Howard B. Owens

Many of the supporters of restoring the Wiss Hotel building on Main Street in Le Roy walked out of Wednesday's village board meeting saying "their minds were made up."

Mike Tucci, Robert Taylor and Jim Bonacquisti all voted to demolish what may be Le Roy's oldest standing commercial building, even though over the past several months, two architects, three contractors and a code enforcement officer all toured the building and said it could be saved.

"They kept moving the goal posts," Trustee Jennifer Keys said after the meeting.

By her calculation, the $132,000 Tucci, Taylor and Bonacquisti voted to expend on destruction of the Wiss equals 8.5 years of the village's community swimming pool fund.

The fee paid to Empire Dismantlement will be pulled from the village reserve fund, according to Mayor Greg Rogers, who, along with Keys, voted no on Bonacquisti's motion to destroy the Wiss.

On Monday, the Le Roy, New York LLC submitted its fifth revised offer to purchase the building so it could be saved and restored.

The new offer answered many of the objects raised by Tucci, Taylor and Bonacquisti.

The offer was written by village resident and Buffalo attorney Chandy Kemp.

"We did everything that was suggested to us to make our offer more appealing," Kemp said. "We identified the parties (of the LLC). We told them where the money was going to come from. We eliminated some of the contingencies. We gave plans about what we intended to do with the property. And they still shot it down. I’m not sure what more we could have done."

At one point, Kemp and her husband, Chris, were thinking of buying the building themselves in order to sidestep any distrust the trustees might have of the LLC. But after touring the building themselves, they realized saving it would be just too much work to take on by themselves, so they joined the LLC.

"I don't think an offer Chris and I would have submitted independent of the LLC, I don't think now, it would be much different," Kemp said. "I'm not convinced we would have been successful. I'm thinking a lot of this, maybe the decision was made a year ago, and a lot of this was just running around until the bids for demolition came in and they knew how much it was going to cost and that just sealed it."

The latest offer also contained the promise of a $500,000 performance bond.

Tucci, Taylor and Bonacquisti all said they respected the hard work of the LLC, that they each gave the issue a lot of thought -- Bonacquisti said he lost sleep over it -- but in the end, tearing the Wiss down was "the right decision."

"In the last 20 years we’ve taken the Sterling Diner down, Vic Bloods has come down, the Millman block has come down, but all Main Street hasn’t come down," Bonacquisti said. "Not only did we survive those buildings coming down, but we’ve gotten better."

Tucci read a prepared statement:

I do have upmost respect for everyone associated with the Le Roy New York LLC. I do appreciate all of their hard work and dedication as to wanting to save this building and make something better of it. They have a passion for Main Street that I hope carries on after this vote. I realize not every one agrees with me with my decision to take it down but I do believe it’s in the best interest of the village. I can only hope people respect my decision and know it’s come with a lot of thought.

Taylor spoke about his 72 years of living in the village and the many hours of his life spent enjoyably at the Wiss, and that he's spoken to a lot of people about the issue.

"My personal opinion, the LLC just picked the wrong building," Taylor said.

Bonacquisti said, "the time for the Wiss has come," and that whatever replaces it will be better.

What replaces it is a complete unknown at this point, though, a point Louis Buono, a supporter of the LLC and owner of the McDonald's franchise in Le Roy, raised later in the meeting.

"There’s not been a plan in place; there’s not been an idea proposed; yet, you ask the LLC over and over againt to formalize a plan which could produce many opportunities here in this village, and yet we’ve heard nothing other than we will demolish the building," Buono said.

"In respect for the other people who spoke in support of saving it," Buono added, "I believe you owe it to the community to explain -- what do you plan to do with that property? -- and not just a commitment saying ‘we will do our best,’ but what is your plan?"

Rogers admitted there is no plan, but by the second meeting in April, the trustees will have a better idea of what will be done going forward.

Previously during the meeting, Rogers said the trustees now have a responsibility to protect the character of the village.

"It's the village board's responsibility to take care of that corner and put something there that makes sense and doesn't destroy the character of this village," Rogers said. "That's our responsibility. That's the five people who sit on this board, that's their responsibility. You have my word that I will work extremely hard not to be an embarrassment. It's a job I take very seriously."

What comes next is the biggest fear the preservationists have. 

"All I’m hearing the board talk about is memories of what it was," said David Damico, a graphic artist who moved to Le Roy in 2008 and is concerned about the village losing its identity. "None of them seem to have any foresight as to what it could be. I think maybe it takes a new person to see that. I want to see this community grow and if we’re tearing everything down, I don’t see how that’s going to happen."

Many fear another Walgreens-type of development, which Selby Davis says, "maimed" the northwest corner of Main and Lake streets.

"It's now something we can do nothing about," she said.

That's also the fear of Chandy Kemp.

"My first reaction is fear," Kemp said. "I'm still afraid of the slippery slope. I trust the mayor and believe and trust his word that he wants to preserve Main Street, but I'm not sure that can be said of the others in the village who may have dollar signs in their eyes. That's my biggest concern, that this is the first step toward major demolition of Main Street, and that's something I would hate to see."

Le Roy trustees expected to decide the fate of the Wiss Hotel tonight

By Howard B. Owens

The fate of the Wiss Hotel will likely be decided tonight in a regular meeting of the Village of Le Roy trustees.

On the agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting is a discussion and likely vote on whether to accept a bid for the destruction of the building.

Mayor Greg Rogers said the trustees will go into closed session first, to both discuss the offer from the Le Roy, New York LLC for purchase and restoration of the former Wiss Hotel building and to review confidential background information on the companies that bid on demolition.

After the closed session, Rogers said he'll open the public meeting and ask the trustees to make a motion that will address the options before the board -- sell to the LLC or accept a demolition bid.

The bids covered three options for demolition -- complete demolition and removal; demolition with removal by village trucks for non-asbestos materials, and taking the building down "hot," meaning no asbestos remediation prior to demolition.

The third option will require the village to condemn the building just prior to demolition.

The lowest bid for #1 is $192,000 from Empire Dismantle and the high bid was from $346,000 from Regional Environmental Demo. A total of seven bids were received for option #1.

On option #2, there were six bids, with the lowest being $172,000 from Empire Dismantle, the highest was $426,000 from Frederico Construction.

For option #3, the lowest of 10 bids was also from Empire Dismantle at $132,000. The highest bid was 271,700 from Ritter and Paratore.

More Wiss talk at Village of Le Roy meeting

By Howard B. Owens

The Wiss Hotel building was once again a topic of discussion at the Village of Le Roy Trustees meeting last night. I was unable to attend because of all the trash talk at the Batavia City Council meeting, so I called Mayor Greg Rogers and LLC proponent Bob Fussell for their take on the meeting.

The meeting started with a presentation by Town of Batavia Code Enforcement Officer Dan Lang (who is mentoring new Town of Le Roy Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Steinbrenner). Lang recommended going through the process of declaring the building an unsafe structure.

Former mayor Jim DeLooz gave about a 10-minute presentation on the Wiss and the likelihood it could be restored. DeLooz is against saving the building. The presentation was well documented and well prepared, Rogers said.

Jerry McCullough, a local contractor, also spoke. He favors saving the Wiss building and believes it can be restored. Fussell said McCullough has experience with building restoration and has said he's taken on projects in much rougher shape than the Wiss.

Joe Condidorio, from contractor Whitney East, also spoke in favor of saving the Wiss and expressed concern that once the Wiss comes down, other buildings will come with it, damaging the character of the village.

"I think it was very important that Joe Condidorio and Jerry McCullough spoke and spoke in support of the idea that restoration is very doable," Fussell said. "They are very well respected in the community."

Bill Farmer, who has his own restoration project in progress at the Creekside Inn, also spoke in favor of saving the Wiss, saying it was important to preserve the character of the village, Rogers said. Fussell said Farmer was very critical of the destruction of the buildings that were removed to build the Walgreens. 

Farmer did not address the status of his own project.

There were also other speakers in favor of saving the Wiss.

Fussell described the trustees as interested and engaged in the conversation.

"It was a very comfortable meeting," Fussell said. "It was non-confrontational and very relaxed."

He said the LLC supporters there came away feeling it was the most positive meeting to date about the Wiss.

There is an RFP in place for contractors to bid on taking down the Wiss building. Contractors are scheduled to tour the building tomorrow, Rogers said, and that's the last time there will be people allowed inside the building until this issue is resolved.

Bids are scheduled to be opened at 3 p.m., March 8, at the Le Roy Village Hall.

Letter to the Editor from Doug Hill, Le Roy resident, on the Wiss Hotel

By Howard B. Owens

Letter to the Editor:  I have been asked to weigh in on The Wiss Hotel’s future by a member of the Le Roy, NY LLC, who wants to renovate The Wiss for high-end apartments, and storefronts. First, I want everyone to know that I am not an investor in the LLC. I have no interest in the property upon which The Wiss sits if it’s torn down. My interest is that of every property owner in the Village of Le Roy who may be faced with having taxes we paid used to tear down The Wiss. 

The Village Taxpayers -- Actually, the future of The Wiss itself is of little or no importance to me. My concern is that the Village trustees have voted 3-2 to seek bids to demolish the building. Some people in Le Roy may think it’s about time, but how many of us are taking the time to realize that this could cost Village property taxpayers between $148,000 and $250,000 to accomplish? And these numbers were estimated prior to an asbestos removal study which would likely increase the cost. The answer I’ve gotten from one Village trustee is that the Village has the money that we’ve paid previously in taxes to accomplish tearing down The Wiss. 

Is The Wiss Property Worth More As A Lot Given the Cost to Village Taxpayers? -- My question I posed to the Village Board in January was why would the Village taxpayers pay to tear down The Wiss? Some of the trustees apparently see that the property will be worth more with The Wiss gone than it is now. I think this is an unfounded assumption. The space taken up by The Wiss and the adjoining storefront is not big enough for any development on the scale of what current developers need, such as what was needed when Walgreens bought up at least three houses, one old gas station and a store in back, the Milliman Block of storefronts, and the historic Masonic Temple for their facility. 

Village Has Received Offers for The Wiss As Is, and When Torn Down & Filled In -- The Village has gotten an offer of $125,000 for the property once the Village tears down The Wiss and fills in the hole, and this individual says the property is worth $250,000. If there were no other parties interested in The Wiss than maybe we as a village would have to tear it down. But what about The Creekside Inn, that has been vacant for years, and I don’t hear any concern about it? Fortunately, the developer there intends on completing The Creekside. But The Wiss, too, has a developer interested in saving it, the Le Roy, NY LLC. The LLC is a group of citizens I understand who are mainly from our community, who want to renovate The Wiss and are willing to pay the village $10,000 for it. In addition they promise to immediately fix the roof, and take care of any concerns about its impact on the neighboring buildings, and to spend $400,000 renovating the building. A feasibility study has been done, which I believe figures in The Wiss getting historic status, which has been called into question because the exterior facade is not original and the inside has apparently been gutted of anything historically significant. But, this is a private venture, and if the investors know this and still think it a good investment, who is the Village Board to stand in their way? 

A Village Trustee Is Worried About Investors in a Wiss Private Enterprise -- One trustee in a recent article on the subject of The Wiss, said he was against saving The Wiss because by doing so we as a village would be encouraging the members of the LLC to invest in the building, only to lose their investment. My opinion is that that should not be the concern of the Village Board. Once the property is owned by the LLC, if that happens, the LLC is a private enterprise.  For too many years the Le Roy Village boards that have come and gone and have taken all of us into one business venture or another (one notably being the failed compost facility that we’re still paying for). The Village Board has no place making private business decisions, and no place picking winners and losers in this realm. If the LLC pays the village $10,000 for the building and saves the taxpayers an additional $148,000 to $250,000 from having to tear it down, we are ahead as taxpayers and that is what we expect the Village Board to be interested in. If the LLC takes possession of the building and fails, the county and then the Village will be its owner again, but this time we’ll have a building in much better condition than it is now, and therefore we as taxpayers win. And a private investor might buy the renovated Wiss from the LLC, and it may not become the Village’s responsibility even if they do fail. This is private enterprise at work. 

Where Is the D. O. T. If The Street Is To Be Widened At the Intersection of Rt. 5 & 19? -- There have been comments made by another Village trustee that the corner needs to be altered to allow large trucks to make the turn more easily, but this is a state issue, and The Wiss has been for sale, and/or in the Village’s possession since 2005. If the state wanted to address this concern where are they? If the state gets funding in the future, I’m sure Walgreens would be only too happy to sell them some of their property to accomplish a wider street. 

Is The Wiss a Fire-Hazard? -- On the issue of whether or not The Wiss is a fire hazard, we as a village, through our fire tax, purchased a fire truck with extension ladders capable of fighting fires from above tall buildings such as we have on Main Street, and in other parts of town. Also, I’m sure our fire department has the equipment to go alongside any window of the building and fight a fire through the window(s). Our Fire Chief Tom Wood has said that he will not have his department enter The Wiss if there is a fire, in its current state. This may be a concern, but The Wiss has burned before in recent years, and I understand quite extensively when it was occupied, and it did not affect the surrounding buildings.  And where is the concern about fire here when there is no electricity and no natural gas going to this building? And modern firefighting technology can be employed by our fire department to contain a fire at The Wiss if one should occur again. And if it is so wet inside, as has been reported, what’s going to burn? 

The Creekside Inn down the street has burned a couple of times through the years, and more recently, the second time, than The Wiss fire. And The Creekside Inn was occupied by a restaurant and apartments at the time. While some damage was done to the adjoining building there, and maybe any risk is intolerable to us, a fire can occur in a house or building at any time. Whether it’s occupied or not doesn’t stop a fire. And one only has to look at the walkway between the Vintage & Vogue building and the Fusion Dance Center building, on the other side, to see that there are at least two layers of brick on either side that forms the walls there. The Wiss likely has the same layers of brick between it and the adjoining building as do the buildings on either side of the walkway. How many layers of brick make up a chimney, and what are the fire risks there? Also, there have been other buildings destroyed by fire on Main Street through the years and they’ve been contained to one building in each instance. And The Wiss is right across the street from the Le Roy Police, and the Le Roy Fire Department so an eye can be kept closely on it if the LLC buys and renovates it. 

What Could A Renovated Wiss Building Look Like? -- The Wiss is a very, very old building, and that in itself, for me, isn’t reason to keep it and renovate it.  I haven’t ever thought the building to be attractive, but with a light color paint on the brick façade, and banks apparently willing to invest in the LLC, why wouldn’t we give the LLC the chance to save this building?

Why Not Sell The Wiss to the Le Roy, NY LLC Who’s Interested In Renovating It and Possibly Save More Buildings On Main Street from the Wrecking Ball? -- Possibly other buildings will be saved around it, if The Wiss is renovated rather than torn down, and our Village will have character unlike so many places in the surrounding area where the older buildings have been torn down. Why not accept the LLC’s offer, rather than have a developer buy the lot and tear down more of our Main Street for a new structure? And how long would it take to get back the demolition costs in property tax, and from a portion of the county’s sales tax that comes back to Le Roy from a new development? How many minimum wage jobs are going to make a real difference in Le Roy that wouldn’t be possible with the existing buildings there? 

What Could The Village Do with Our $148,000 - $250,000 Instead of Tearing Down The Wiss? -- Lastly, what could the Village Board do with the $148,000 to $250,000 needed to tear down The Wiss? I understand they have an extra $250,000 in their coffers. What could the Village do with that amount of money in terms of revitalizing the creek bank in Le Roy, our signature view, by covering the stones that were placed there for erosion control? The creek bank in the public portion is an eyesore and only the village government, not private enterprise, can correct this. What about renewing the project to put old-fashioned street lights on Main Street every other light to revitalize Main Street? What about replacing sidewalks that are in very bad shape on Main Street? There are so many things that could be done with the $250,000 the Village has of our tax dollars rather than tearing a building down that a developer wants to buy and put on the tax rolls.  And while they’re at it, the Village Board could give every property owner a rebate on their taxes. Who would complain about that? Thanks for reading this letter and I trust that Village taxpayers, and interested residents of the Town, will let the Le Roy Village Board know what they want to happen with The Wiss. 

Douglas Hill, Le Roy Village Resident

Tour reveals what you might expect: The Wiss Hotel is in pretty bad shape

By Howard B. Owens

Nobody disputes the fact that the former Wiss Hotel building is in rough shape.

A tour of the building yesterday revealed sagging ceilings, holes in the roof, peeling and chipping paint, uneven doorways, junk and garbage strewn throughout the interior and everything of value that could be removed -- claw-foot bathtubs and the old rosewood bar, for example -- gone.

Rich Hauser, an architect from Perry and a building restoration expert, has said previously that it will take nearly $1 million to restore the Wiss. A tour such as the one we took yesterday can only confirm there's a lot of work to be done.

The dollars and cents of the issue comes down to what a potential buyer -- such as the Le Roy, NY, LLC -- might want to do with the building and whether the building is structurally sound.

A structural analysis would be required before building permits for a restoration project could be pulled, and Bob Fussell, currently heading up the LLC, said the LLC won't pay for a structural analysis until it takes title to the building.

It doesn't make financial sense, he said, to go to the expense of a structural analysis if the LLC doesn't own the building.

On the tour yesterday were Bob Lawley, Bob Lathan, village DPW supervisor, Jeff Steinbrenner, the town's new code enforcement officer, and Dan Lang, Town of Batavia code enforcement officer, who was hired by the Town of Le Roy to mentor Steinbrenner as he gets started in his new job.

Lang's recommendation to Steinbrenner is that the building be tagged ASAP as an unsafe structure under NYS Property and Maintenance Code, Section 107.

"My primary concern is that the building (be) sealed up tight so nobody gets in," Lang said. "The main issue is life safety for members of the community."

Next, the village should start the process of declaring the building a vacant structure, under NYS Fire Code Section 311.

Since there is no fire suppression system in place, as a vacant structure, the building would have to be cleared immediately of all combustible material. If the village still owns the building at that point, the village will need to pay for clean up of the interior.

Lang will discuss these points with the village board at its Wednesday meeting.

In Lang's personal opinion, he thinks restoration of the building will cost more than current estimates.

Fussell said he trusts the expert in the matter, Rich Hauser.

The condition of the building now wouldn't be much different than when Hauser examined it several months ago.

If another expert offered up an opinion that it would cost $3 million rather than $1 million, then Fussell said, his position on saving the Wiss would change. But he noted Hauser has a good deal of experience with restoration of buildings in as bad of shape as the Wiss, or worse.

With yesterday's freezing temperature, portions of stairs and floors were covered with ice, even on the second floor. On the third floor, a several square foot area was covered with about an inch-thick layer of ice.

"If it wasn't this cold, it would be drip, drip, drip, all the time," Lathan said at one point during the tour.

Tim Hens, an engineer who owns a neighboring building, said during an e-mail conversation this morning that for a full-effect tour, you really need to go in when the water isn't frozen and you hear water dripping everywhere.

While the ceilings are sagging, walking on the second and third floors yesterday didn't reveal any obvious weakness in the floors.

Hens said when there's no ice, the floors do feel squishy.

Hens wrote:

I think the only way anyone is going know whether it is structurally sound is to gut the place. That is the only way you would be able to see all the bearing walls and/or structural connections to see if there is any rotten/punky wood. In order to do that the asbestos would have to be remediated. It may be possible to save, but someone is going to have to put up about $60-80K just to find out if it can be saved.

The village has requested bids from contractors interested in tearing down the Wiss. Those sealed bids will be opened at 3 p.m., March 8, at the village hall.

Mayor Greg Rogers said if at that point, village trustees have enough information to proceed, the bids will be considered at the board's March 13 meeting.

Tom Spadaro has put an offer in writing, with conditions, to buy the Wiss property once the building is torn down for $125,000. Among Spadaro's conditions is that the ground be filled in and level and that any environmental issues be settled.

If the Wiss comes down, any future owner of the property won't be able to build on the current Wiss footprint, Lang said. The current Wiss structure is partially on a NYS DOT right of way.

Rogers said that at the March 13 meeting, if the trustees have enough information, he will ask for a motion on any one of the options available -- sell to the LLC, sell to Spadaro after the Wiss is destroyed, or take down the Wiss and keep the property for now.

For all of our previous coverage of the Wiss Hotel, click here.

Another look back at the Wiss's history; clarification of LLC's ability to take ownership

By Howard B. Owens

Tim Hens, who owns property neighboring the Wiss Hotel building and is an engineer and history buff, sent along this photo of the "Wiss House" circa 1900, when it was two stories with a wood exterior.

He notes it was a wood-framed building.

Is it possible that the three-story structure there now is the same two-story building with a third-story addition? Most of the frame structures built in the early 1800s were post-and-beam construction with wood siding. Very few remain in our area. It would have been difficult to add a third floor to a post-and-beam constructed building. Was there ever any history of a fire? Possibly they rebuilt on the same site?

Building permits were not required way back when, so the historical record is rather incomplete.

Hens also notes that the facade in the postcard pictures we ran the other day make it look like the facade is stacked stone.

Here's one of those postcards:

Of course, we all know the current facade is red brick.

Hens said it makes no sense to put brick in front of stacked stone and it isn't likely somebody would have removed the stacked stone to put up brick.

Thinking about this, I remembered something I read in the Lynne Belluscio article from 2005.

Hepps added the third story to the old two-story landmark and capped it off with a flat roof. He covered the exterior with metal siding.

In 1927 he replaced the siding with 'tapestry brick" veneer. He added the small one-story store to the east ...

So the Hepps-owned building we see above was probably sided with tin that was pressed to look like stacked stone.

I asked Hens if that was possbile and he said yes, but said such a facade in that era wouldn't not have weathered well.

As for adding the third floor to the wood-framed structure, compare window and door placement. The interesting thing to note is how the east end of the building isn't level with the west end in both pictures. 

However, Hens said a new building, given the slant of Main Street, could have been built the same way.

Personally, it seems to me unlikely that the building of 1900 would be so similar to the building of the 1920s if they were different buildings.

So here's something else to debate: Is the current Wiss the same building as the structure originally built at that location in 1802 (the construction date in an article Hens shared).

On another note, a caller this morning raised the issue that I haven't reported that the Le Roy, NY, LLC, isn't in a position to take immediate ownership of the building even if the village board approved the sale today.

That hasn't been an issue, at least in public statements, for the three trustees blocking the sale, but it's also true.

I confirmed with Bob Fussell this morning that there is a contingency in the LLC's offer that would give the group four months to raise funds sufficient to move forward with the project.

Fussell said he believes people have made sufficient verbal commitments to ensure the funds would be raised well within the time frame, but until the funds are committed, the LLC won't take title to the building.

New Wiss supporters come forward, put pointed questions to trustees opposed to saving 200-year-old building

By Howard B. Owens

Louis Buono, top photo;
Chris and Chandy Kemp; Bill Kettle

Even Louis Buono thinks the Wiss Hotel building should be saved.

Buono owns the McDonald's franchise in the Village of Le Roy. Buono is concerned that tearing down the Wiss will hurt the character of the village and do nothing to bring more people downtown.

That outcome would hurt his business.

"I am the last person that wants empty storefronts, that’s for sure," Buono said. "I stare at them regularly and it is frustrating."

When speaking of the Le Roy, NY, LLC, Buono used the word "we" a lot and indicated he is planning to invest in restoration of the Wiss if the LLC can persuade at least one more village trustee to approve the sale of the building.

In all, five people who have never spoken up before on behalf of saving the Wiss spoke at the trustees' meeting Wednesday night.

Even Police Chief Chris Hayward, who never comments at village meetings about anything not directly related to the police department, had something to say.

Hayward doesn't favor apartments for the building -- there are enough apartments in Le Roy, he said -- but he doesn't understand why the LLC group isn't being given a chance to try and save the Wiss.

"When the mayor asked me back in March to stay on and not retire, part of our discussion was about what my motivations were for leaving and what would motivate me to stay," Hayward said. "One of the motivations I talked about for leaving was that in almost 30 years we’ve turned from a community that always worked together to get things done to a community that always looks for reason not to do things.

"Robbins Nest," he added, "we came up with reasons not to do it. The pool. We came up with reasons not to keep it open. I think we need to turn back into that community that looks for reasons to get these things done.  ... I just think we’re coming up with reasons not to do something that might have a positive impact on the community."

Another downtown property owner, Bill Kettle, said he thinks tearing down the Wiss would hurt the value of his own investment.

Kettle owns the buildings at 10 and 12 Main St. He said he's put a lot of money into restoration of those buildings and considers them the bookend -- with the Wiss being the other bookend -- to Main Street.

"My focus and concern with the Wiss is maintaining the character of Le Roy," Kettle said. "I’m very concerned about the Wiss being the fuse that will ignite a larger demolition of Main Street."

Mayor Greg Rogers, later in the meeting, pretty much confirmed what a lot of preservationists fear -- that once the Wiss goes, other buildings will be on the chopping block.

The Wiss property by itself is not big enough to attract a developer for the kind of new commercial construction that attracts investors.

“I’m not going to blow sunshine up your Kool-Aid," Rogers said. "It’s going to take more than one or two. It would take that whole corner. That parcel over there isn’t big enough for basically anything by itself."

Keeping the character of the village is also what brought Chris and Chandy Kemp to Wednesday's meeting.

The professional couple -- he's a math teacher in Rochester, she's an attorney in Buffalo -- moved to Le Roy because they were charmed by the village atmosphere.

Chris Kemp said he and his wife had never heard of Le Roy before a real estate agent drove them into town, heading east into the village on Route 5.

"We came in under the train trestle, and before that it was like, ‘yeah, whatever. It’s like Lancaster. Woopie freakin’ do,' and we came under it and, no lie, it was like the sun came out, the flowers were swaying, people were walking hand-in-hand up some kind of main street, which you can’t get anyplace else," Kemp said.

The village sold itself immediately to the couple and one of the first things they did was visit the Wiss for wings and hockey while a biker gang was hanging out there.

Both Chris and Chandy said that they worry tearing down the Wiss will start exactly the kind of domino effect described by Kettle.

"I don’t want to live in Generica," Chandy said. "I could have built a McMansion in a suburb anywhere in America. I’ve been a lawyer for 20 years. I don’t have to live here, but I want to and this is why: It’s the character. It’s the village. We don’t want to be where there’s some major development on every corner."

Many, many young professionals want to live in communities that are true communities and have character and charm, Chris Kemp said.

"We’re the people you want to have here," Chris said. "We’re the people who pay your taxes. We keep the place running. We’re the people with a little money, a little ambition, a little drive and a little common sense."

Bob Fussell Jr., spoke out, too. Of course, he said, he agrees with his dad, who is heading up the LLC effort.

"I think you would make a big mistake to tear that down," Fussell said. "I don’t want to see a Tim Horton's or some commercialized garbage sitting on that corner.  When I take my daughter on her bike down Main Street, I don’t want to take her by a Tim Horton's. I enjoy main street. I’ve lived here most of my life, and that’s just how I feel."

As the conversation became a little more free flowing, with some back-and-forth between citizens and board members, Chris Kemp and Louis Buono tried to draw out of the three trustees who oppose saving the Wiss just exactly what their thinking is.

Mike Tucci, Robert Taylor and Jim Bonacquisti, have all raised concerns about safety, the viability of saving the Wiss, and for Bonacquisti, the idea that the corner is "screaming out for retail."

Buono countered that once the LLC takes possession of the building, the safety issue is resolved. There is a contractor ready now to shore up the building and even install a fire wall, though it's questionable whether it's needed.

If safety was the issue for the three board members, he said, there would be a scaffolding and yellow tape around the building already.

Getting to the point of tearing down the building will take a lot longer than it would take the LLC to resolve the safety concerns, Buono said.

As for Bonacquisti's suggestion that the corner is "screaming out" for retail, well, Buono said, the LLC's plan includes retail on the first floor.

"It can't be safety," Buono said. "It can't be retail. The LLC takes care of both of those issues."

Kemp turned to asking trustees what they envision for the corner and Tucci said, "grass."

He said, "I see grass and picnic tables."

An idea Chris scoffed at, suggesting it wouldn't be used much with Trigon Park just down the street and Chandy noted a park there wouldn't generate tax revenue.

By the end of the meeting, neither Tucci nor Bonacquisti really answered the question of what their real objections are.

Tucci seemed to reject the idea that taking down the Wiss will lead to more buildings coming down.

"I’m not for demolishing Le Roy," Tucci said.

Taylor said he remains opposed to saving the Wiss because he doesn't believe it can be saved.

In a back and forth with Fussell Sr., Taylor admitted that he's previously said he's not an expert in construction and restoration. Fussell noted that all the experts who have looked at the building say it can be restored.

"It's just my personal opinion," Taylor said, "but I think it's the ugliest building I've ever seen."

Lisa Compton has been at every village meeting on the Wiss and supports the LLC, though she said she can't afford to invest. Just as Taylor hasn't been convinced by anything he's heard, nothing Taylor, Tucci and Bonacquisti have said changes her mind.

"I’m coming at it from a taxpayer," Compton said. "I just haven’t found a good enough reason to drop it. It makes good financial sense. I haven’t been persuaded, kind of like the other board members who are against it. I haven’t heard anything to persuade me yet that it's a bad idea."

Perhaps the most hopeful word for preservationists came at the end of the village board meeting.

Tucci said the idea of the LLC putting in office units upstairs instead of apartments appealed to him. A change in business plans could change his mind.

Taylor said he agreed with Tucci.

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