A downtown Binghamton building that had been a furniture store for more than eight decades is about to get a new life.

Developer Josh Bishop plans to convert most of the former Ellis Brothers store at 159 Washington Street into apartment units.

Bishop acquired the four-story building about one month ago. Ellis Brothers moved out of the Washington Street building last fall, shortly after the company started operations in a renovated building at Court and Hawley streets.

The former Ellis Brothers store at 159 Washington Street is empty. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Bishop outlined his plans for the Washington Street property to members of the city planning commission Monday.

The panel is to hold a public hearing on the project on May 13 at 5:20 p.m.

Bishop said his vision for the building is somewhat similar to plans Yaron Kweller had for the site a couple of years ago. The original project was scrapped after work on the new Ellis Brothers store took longer than expected.

Bishop is planning 30 residential units with a total of 36 bedrooms. The previous proposal called for a total of 58 bedrooms.

One- and two-bedroom apartments now are planned for the second, third and fourth floors of the building. The street level may be used for general retail or a restaurant-type business.

Bishop said he hopes construction work can start this summer. He said the first apartment units could be available by late fall.

It's unknown what will become of the Ellis Brothers sign that remains on the property the family had owned since the 1930s. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com

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