Margaretville eCenter facelift underway

By Brian Sweeney
Exterior renovations got underway this week on a project to turn the Margaretville Masonic Building into an eCenter business incubator.
The building was purchased last year from the Masonic Lodge by the Delaware County Industrial Devel-opment Agency. The IDA previously has established an eCenter in Delhi.
The eCenter concept provides a place for smaller businesses that are just starting up and enables them to get on their feet. A standard lease between a business and the eCenter is for one year, with a one-year renewal. At that point, a determination is made whether the business is viable. Once a business gets established, it moves out into the community.
IDA Executive Director Glenn Nealis said that prospective eCenter tenants must file an application and business plan. The eCenter provides incubator businesses with office equipment, utilities, Internet access, maintenance and shared office equipment.
If necessary, the eCenter will provide any additional support, such as help with employees and financial assistance.
Mr. Nealis said that replacing the roof was the first phase of the renovation project. The exterior work will now be focused on removing the old vinyl siding, replacing damaged clapboards and painting in historically appropriate colors. Plans call for some restoration work on the front of the building.
Second Nature Construction is performing the renovations. This phase of the project is expected to be complete before the end of the summer.
Mr. Nealis said that remodeling of the interior will get underway during the fall and the eCenter is expected to open early next year.
The project is expected to cost between $550,000 and $750,000. Mr. Nealis said that state budget problems have slowed some of funds that have been secured for the project, but the money will be forthcoming.
Mr. Nealis explained that the sales agreement with the Masonic Lodge granted that organization a five-year lease to continue utilizing the third floor of the building. That lease is continually renewable, as long as the Masons desire.
In addition, the deal calls for the current apartment tenants on the second floor to maintain their leases as long as they like.
One apartment had no tenant at the time of the sale and another was recently vacated. These spaces will be turned into larger office suites. The third unit is continuing to be utilized as an apartment.
The previous first floor tenants — Attorney Carey Wagner and the Margaretville Hospital Thrift Shop relocated earlier this year to the north end of Main Street.
Plans call for the first floor to house four small offices and one larger offer space that will include a computer lab and conference room.
Mr. Nealis said that ownership of the property will eventually be transferred to Catskill Development Foundation, owner of e-center in Delhi.