Ithaca Times

From Firehall to Winery

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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 1:16 pm

Lodi’s Eremita Winery has partnered with a Cayuga Lake winery to purchase the Ovid municipal building and renovate it into a distillery.

Josh Parker, who owns Eremita, said the partnership would be closing on the building this week.

Parker said he and the unnamed winery would dub the former firehouse facility the Firehouse Distillery. It will double as a production facility for both Eremita and its partner, he said.

“I’ve been working on the project for close to a year now. I’ve had loose talks with the village,” he said. “Right now, we’re taking over 80 percent of it, but we’re actually in negotiations. We could take the whole building.”

Parker said Village Mayor David Terry Sr. was instrumental in helping Parker close on the deal. Terry couldn’t be reached this week.

The town of Ovid occupies the remaining office space and holds its meetings there. Town Supervisor Walt Prouty said Monday that, and no decision has been made as to where the town board would meet in the event their space is sold.

“We’ll have to decide whether we’ll sell [our space],” he said.

Ovid town leaders could possibly meet in the new municipal building, Prouty said, and the town also has some available land near its highway barns and could build a space. The town board plans to discuss its options when it meets this week.

Significant renovations are needed at the 10,000 square foot space, notably plumbing and electric work, Parker said. He pegged the total cost of renovations and equipment at around $1 million.

Parker is no stranger to significant renovations. A past project manager for a construction company, he has spent the past few years refurbishing an old Lodi church into Eremita Winery. He also calls the church-turned-winery at 2155 East Church St. home; he outfitted the form rectory into a studio apartment, too.

Parker’s latest project at 7160 Main Street in Ovid is assessed at $481,000, according to Seneca County assessment records. Its full market value is roughly $500,000, according to those same records.

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