The land acquisition by Binghamton University in the village of Johnson City continues with another property about to be taken off the tax rolls.

The university foundation is preparing to buy a building that has been used by a fraternal organization for several decades.

A senior trustee for Johnson City Unity Lodge No. 970 of the Free and Accepted Masons of New York said the sale of the building at 22 Lewis Street is expected to close soon. The lodge has met at the Johnson City location for 86 years.

The cornerstone at the Johnson City Lodge on Lewis Street. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
The cornerstone at the Johnson City Lodge on Lewis Street. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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The organization moved its property out of the structure on June 7. The lodge members are expected to gather this week for a final meeting at the site. The organization is looking for a new place in the village or nearby.

The lodge trustee said the university is planning to tear down the structure as it clears away existing buildings from its expanding Health Sciences Campus along Corliss Avenue.

Binghamton University has purchased dozens of buildings in the neighborhood over the past couple of years only to tear them down to create a buffer between Main Street and its pharmacy school and nursing college complexes to the south.

Demolitions crews at an apartment house at 23 Lewis Street on July 14, 2021. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
Demolitions crews at an apartment house at 23 Lewis Street on July 14, 2021. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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A five-story 20-unit apartment house on Lewis Street was demolished last July, although people familiar with the building said it was still in good condition.

The university is said to have been trying to buy one remaining structure - another apartment house - on Lewis Street for a "green space" project. The property owner reportedly wants more money for the property than has been offered.

Design work on the buffer zone is said to be continuing. Actual construction on the green space now is expected to start next year.

A Binghamton University rendering of the park being developed in Johnson City to connect the Health Sciences Campus with the downtown business district. Image: Nicholas Corcoran.
A Binghamton University rendering of the park planned to connect the Johnson City Health Sciences Campus with the downtown business district. (Image: Nicholas Corcoran.)
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A Binghamton University spokesman was unable to provide any information about additional property acquisitions or the project. In an emailed statement he wrote: "The university foundation continues to work diligently to help Johnson City make a better place for its residences and businesses."

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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