It was in May of 2021 that Springbrook, one of the largest employers in Otsego County and beyond, announced an ambitious housing project to create affordable apartments in the Ford block building which extends from 186 to 212 Main Street. Springbrook can finally get that project going now that more than a year later, they have just closed on the purchase of that property. Springbrook is calling the building "The Ford on Main".

Springbrook officials say in a release that renovations to the building will start in July. The existing businesses in the building will remain and the two upper floors will be converted into 24, studio and one-bedroom, modern, market-rate apartments. An elevator will be added to the building. Springbrook says that four of the residential units will be earmarked to house people with disabilities who receive services from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

Also being renovated will be the walk-through area known as the "arcade" or "walkway" which is an indoor space that connects Main Street to the parking garage.

This $8.9M renovation project is being funded through several sources: a City of Oneonta grant, a City of Oneonta Downtown Revitalization grant, an Empire State Development grant, Community Preservation Corporation funding, NYS Homes and Community Renewal financing, and the Berkshire Bank Historical Tax Credit.

The renovation plan includes preserving the building's historical qualities with the overall intent of the housing project to attract professionals as building residents who would most likely patronize Downtown businesses, helping Downtown Oneonta thrive and move forward economically.

Seth Haight who is Springbrook’s Chief Operating Officer and project manager for the renovations says, “Oneonta has supported our growth and the needs of the people we support for nearly 100 years, and we are proud to invest back into the community.”

Springbrook, a non-profit organization, serving 14 counties and providing services to people with developmental disabilities has one other housing project under its belt with the Century Sunrise Residences in Johnson City which opened in 2018. This project converted two warehouses into apartment buildings that are mixed-use and house 120 tenants, 32 of which receive support through OPWDD.

After the Ford on Main building is complete, Springbrook has plans for housing projects in Cortland and Ithaca.

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To view Springbrooks Ford on Main renovation project progress, a website has been set up for public viewing at www.thefordonmain.com. The site will contain information on apartment leasing when the project nears completion.

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