Roger Neel/WNBF News [file][/caption]Workers have started gutting the interior of a former department store building in downtown Binghamton that will become the new home to Ellis Brothers Contemporary Furniture.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

The store was displaced when fire tore through a Water Street building just over a year ago.

Last October, the Contemporary Furniture store opened at a temporary site as part of the MetroCenter complex on Court Street.

Co-owner Richard Ellis says the store must vacate that location by July 1 because the property owner has a lease with a new tenant for the site.

Ellis expects a contractor will be hired in the next week or so for the new store project. He says the building at the corner of Court and Hawley streets - which once housed a J.C. Penney store - was acquired for $550,000. Ellis did not reveal the expect cost of the renovation work.

Ellis anticipates the new store will open in September or October. He says about three-quarters of the 44,000 square feet in the building will be used for retailing. The rest will be utilized for prep and warehouse operations.

The Ellis gift shop is to be moved to the new site. The store also will feature additional furniture offerings, include items geared for Binghamton's growing student population.