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KeyCenter to get new look amid changes downtown

The firm that runs the KeyCenter and Bank of America Building at Fountain Plaza hopes to spruce up the first floor and outside plaza to make it “user-friendly” and respond to the new dynamics of downtown.

Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., which manages the facilities for New York City-based owner Erwin Zafir, wants to change the look and feel of the complex as the mix of building tenants changes, car traffic returns to Main Street, and Canalside grows as a destination.

CEO Paul Ciminelli said the impending departure of Delaware North Cos. and the arrival of IBM Corp. at KeyCenter create both a vacancy and potential new demand for the ground-floor retail space in that building.

Delaware North’s Sportservice division operates Vito’s Market, a gourmet deli. But Ciminelli expects that to close after Delaware North moves out next year. Coffee Culture already closed its store there.

Meanwhile, IBM Corp. is moving in, but its 500 younger workers may want other food and retail options.

Also, the initiative to restore two-way car traffic to Main Street, alongside the Metro Rail, will bring new activity. That’s on top of redevelopment of other buildings along Main by individual landlords.

And the rising popularity of Canalside – including potentially for ice skating – could mean less need for the Rotary Rink. “There’s a lot of positives happening downtown, and in that context, you have to take a fresh look at Fountain Plaza,” Ciminelli said, adding that the firm does not have any specific ideas in mind yet.