ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Elmira residents are anxiously awaiting word on which new business will be coming to the former Tops Plaza building on the city’s southside.
On Thursday 18 News first reported that the building was purchased by Benderson Development, which operates out of Florida and has an office in Buffalo. The company owns several large retailer properties across the country and works with chains such as Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and other national retailers.
Currently, the abandoned building has a “now leasing” sign after being sold for over $800,000 in July through the online auction Real INSIGHT Marketplace.
18 News asked residents on Facebook what retailers they would like to see come to the former Tops Plaza.
A majority of residents requested big box stores such as Walmart, Best Buy, or KMart to come in and redo the building. Some suggested specialty grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or Costco.
One Facebook commenter even mentioned bringing Tops back to the plaza three years after they left.
There are currently six Walmarts in the area between Horseheads, Sayre, Mansfield, Watkins Glen, Painted Post, and Ithaca. There are also three Best Buys in Big Flats, Ithaca, and Vestal.
There are currently no Whole Foods within several hours of Elmira, the closest being in Buffalo and Albany.
Trader Joe’s has a location in Ithaca, but nowhere close to residents in the Northern Tier. Costco is just as scarce in the area with locations in Rochester and Syracuse.
Other comments included a Dave and Busters entertainment center or a marijuana dispensary.