A $3.5 million investment transformed a building that's been vacant in the Hudson Valley for over 30 years into a food market, bakery, restaurant and chocolate shop.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the completion of renovations on the Woolworth building that brought new retail spaces in the formerly abandoned building in a historic area of Middletown.

The retail spaces, made possible with a $3.5-million-plus investment, line a pedestrian corridor that serves as a spur of the Heritage Trail and a gateway to the downtown, officials say.

"The transformation of the formerly vacant Woolworth Building into a bustling retail hub is a huge step forward for the City of Middletown," Cuomo said. "The completion of this latest Downtown Revitalization Initiative project increases access to restaurants and improves the walkability of the downtown, leading to a more vibrant community for residents and visitors to enjoy."

According to the Governor's office, The former Woolworth building, vacant for over 30 years, has been renovated and reimagined as the Rail Trail Commons, an arcade-style retail building with storefronts facing a central corridor that will be integrated into the downtown spur of the Orange County Heritage Trail. The three retail establishments selected to occupy the storefronts will bring new activity to the downtown and become a destination for residents and visitors alike. The businesses include:

  • Farmer & Baker, a food market and bakery specializing in artisan breads, and seasonal foods sourced from the owners'
    farm as well as other local farms and producers;
  • Painted Horse, an artisan chocolate shop that will also offer chocolate-making classes;
  • Oak & Reed, a farm-to-table restaurant that will serve locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients with an emphasis on supporting local farms and businesses.

"This program has created a tremendous amount of excitement in our downtown and has triggered a significant infusion of private sector investment, creation of additional housing units and public infrastructure improvements," City of Middletown Mayor Joseph M. DeStefano said. This process has been challenging and we are now reaping the rewards with the opening of this former Woolworth building, now Rail Trail Commons hosting three new businesses and creating jobs in our downtown."