A holiday gift for Geneva — the Dove Block returns to local ownership

Geneva’s historic downtown Dove Block building is set to return to local ownership as part of a project that will secure the building’s future for years to come.

The Dove Block Restoration Group, which is made up of local business and civic leaders, announced an agreement and financing Thursday that will return the landmark’s ownership to Geneva and begin the initial phase of a multimillion-dollar renovation project headed by local contractor Chrisanntha Construction.

“Situated on the most important corner in the city, the renovation of the Dove Block is crucial for maintaining the unique character of Geneva’s downtown,” said Dave Bunnell, chairman of the nonprofit board that has worked for more than four years to save the building. “It took full community collaboration, but we believe our key, first and most difficult goal has been reached. This is a significant step forward for Geneva.”

With the Restoration Group’s purchase of the building from its British owner being financed by the Bank of the Finger Lakes, Bunnell expects construction to begin soon using the $1.4 million in grants awarded by the state through both its Downtown Revitalization Initiative and New York Main Street programs.

The Restoration Group will remain the legal owner of the building during the initial phase of the renovation work. A combination of apartments, retail space and a community art gallery dedicated to famed Geneva artist Arthur Dove are among the planned uses for the 1870s era building.

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