In one of his final acts in office, Binghamton Mayor Richard David is kicking off the official start of the demolition of a crumbling parking garage downtown while the department store its attached to is forecasting a bright future.

In a statement, Boscov’s says it has recently begun “conceptual discussions” to purchase the building it’s occupied at the corner of Court and Water Streets for decades with plans to finally address improvements needed in the historic building.

WNBF News file
WNBF News file

Back in the 1980s, then-mayor Juanita Crabb convinced Al Boscov to move into the old Fowler’s Department store, becoming the retail anchor for the downtown district.

The Binghamton economic development division actually owns the building which has been plagued by leaks, heating and cooling issues and other problems for years.

The Boscov’s statement quotes Mayor David as saying negotiations will end the string of one-year lease extensions in favor of the store maintaining a long-term presence downtown.

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Jim Boscov said “Know that we remain committed to being downtown’s most vital community partner” and says the company looks forward to modernizing the existing store.

Meanwhile, the Water Street or “Boscov’s Ramp” is closed as the structure is to be replaced with a $25-million market-rate housing project above a new parking garage.

Shoppers can park free with store validation in the State Street and Hawley Street ramps along with free parking in the surface lot behind the former CVS store on Hawley Street and the new street parking on Water Street, which became one-way in mid-November.

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