Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Naked Building Waits

Who knows, there may be 8 million stories in the Naked Building.  Once its 300,000 square feet were filled with some 1500 BAE workers, hard at work, within walking distance of where I live in Westover, near Johnson City, New York.  Now, its workers on site down to a handful, it sits, awaiting its fate.  We know the building, a beautiful brick building built in 1942 and owned by the Air Force, will be torn down.  The question is, when - and, what will happen to the 1500 jobs?

It has been 5 months now, since the floods of September 7 and 8, 2011, caused by Tropical Storm Lee.  Our neighborhood continues to recover slowly.  Another store across the street from BAE, is reopening, joining the two businesses and one doctors office already reopened.  A nearby store, Ollies, will reopen February 15.  In the past month, the Christmas Tree shop, about a mile away, reopened.

But others will never reopen.  On Oakdale Road, a credit union building lies vacant, with a For Sale sign. A doctors office and a day care center also sit vacant.  On nearby Endwell Street, former residents await buyouts.   The Petco on Harry L. Drive, site of a tragic drowning of some 100 animals, will not reopen.  Nor will the Gander Mountain, where the man who gunned down 13 innocent people at the American Civic Association on April 3, 2009, bought his weapon.

And, in another hard hit neighborhood, Twin Orchards, For Sale signs are springing up everywhere, with speculators at the ready.

Through all this, the Naked Building waits patiently, like it has all the time in the world.  Its floors warped, its interior walls stripped to metal girders, it will be abandoned (I am told) on February 28.  The workers were supposed to be told by tomorrow where they would be relocated to.  BAE promised to stay in our county. But can they be trusted?

Maybe we will know tomorrow.  Maybe we will know soon how the final stories in the Naked Building will end.

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