A Binghamton man hopes to transform an idle four-story downtown building by developing residential and commercial space in the structure.

Charles Ackerman says he's prepared to buy the property at 209 and 211 State Street for the project.

Ackerman's plans were presented to the Binghamton planning commission this week. His goal is to develop several 2- and 3-bedroom apartments in the building, which now is owned by Donald Dean of Binghamton.

Ackerman would like to have one section of the first floor used for a "general retail" purpose.

The retail space potentially could be utilized for an art gallery or a coffee shop.

Ackerman said the basement could be turned into up to 10 studio spaces for use by local artists. He views the project as compatible with the city's plans to develop an arts and cultural district. That district is to encompass parts of State, Henry, Washington, Water and Lewis streets.

Ackerman indicated he intends to restore the building to "its historic configuration." He said he would seek to use historic preservation tax credits to develop the project.

The building at 209 and 211 State Street has been utilized for storage purposes in recent years.

Over the past century, the property has been used for various purposes, including battery manufacturing in the 1920s. In later years, it was home to the Binghamton Paper Company and a Studebaker car dealership.

The building is located next door to 205 Dry bar and restaurant.

The city planning commission is expected to hold a public hearing on the proposed project on May 9.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com.

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