A Vestal developer is planning a major renovation of an unsafe abandoned historic structure in Tioga County.

John Maczko is in the process of acquiring a three-story building at 50 Lake Street in Owego.

Tioga Trails Café occupied the ground floor for several years and a beer garden operated on the roof of the building for a time. Property owners George and April Swaney in 2016 developed plans for condominiums on the second and third floors of the structure but that project was scrapped.

A sidewalk on Main Street east of Lake Street in Owego is closed due to safety concerns. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
A sidewalk on Main Street east of Lake Street in Owego is closed due to safety concerns. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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In recent months, structural problems with the building resulted in the closure of the sidewalk around the property at the corner of Lake and Main streets.

New York state this week announced approval of a $1 million grant to support rehabilitation of the nearly 24-thousand square foot building.

Maczko told WNBF News he expects to close on the property soon. He said he's been working with architects and engineers to erect scaffolding around the building. He hopes the sidewalks at the site can be back in use in time for next month's Strawberry Festival.

A warning sign at the now-closed Tioga Trails Café in Owego. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
A warning sign at the former Tioga Trails Café in Owego on May 25, 2023. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Maczko said he's excited about the prospect of being able to restore the property, calling it "a keystone building" for the village.

The developer plans to "open up" the Main Street side of the structure by installing new window systems that will make a "huge difference" in the appearance of the building.

Four apartments are planned for the second floor. The third floor is to be stabilized for future residential development.

Maczko said he expects construction to get underway this summer.

A glimpse inside the now-closed restaurant at 50 Lake Street. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
A glimpse inside the now-closed restaurant at 50 Lake Street. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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