Ithaca, N.Y. — Wednesday marks the official opening of Press Bay Alley — a downtown retail complex at The Ithaca Journal’s former storage bays.

Press Bay Alley will house multiple small businesses in a space that would otherwise be unused, said Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

“The idea is to have a concentration of businesses that will generate some foot traffic downtown,” Ferguson said.  “It’s a nice opportunity to repurpose a building into interesting retail spaces.”

Two new businesses will open today in Press Bay Alley, according to Ferguson. One is Amuse: Modern Cottage Industry, a gift shop stocked with local crafts, and the other is Boxy Bikes, an electric bike distributor.

Jason Henderson, who runs the blog Ithaca Builds, writes:

“Stop by the end of Green Street before crossing Cayuga Street downtown and check-out Boxy Bikes and Amuse: Modern Cottage Industry, retail tenants that have now occupied the building.

The previous surface asphalt has been demoed and taken away, and new sections of sidewalk slab now fill the open space, flanked by steel bollards and planters. The project was completed by John Guttridge and David Kuckuck of Urban Core, LLC, with design by John and Claudia Brenner Architects, garage doors by Overhead Door, metal work by Accufab, masonry by McPherson Builders and general carpentry by RG Builders. The west face of the building is still whitewashed in preparation for a mural artist, but the site is open and ready for business.

A retailer has been set for one of the Press Bay Alley spaces, and it’s Ithaca’s Boxy Bikes, a company that makes custom electric bicycles. They contain a battery, a motor, and are plugged-in at night to charge. “E-bikes” as they’re called, are generally intended as a biking aid, to help climb hills and steep inclines, or for transporting cargo. A couple articles, one last September and another in 2011 noted that E-Bikes are gaining considerable popularity, especially in Europe, where now in the Netherlands (legitimately described as the Western bike capital of the world), every one in six bikes sold is an E-bike. China is an established exporter, as well as having its own strong E-bike market. High-end finished factory models can be quite expensive, so there’s ample room for customizers and DIY-ers.

In addition to the added retailers debuting this summer, the building now has complete metal coping along the roof edge, and a fresh paint coat base in preparation for a talented mural artist to bring this canvas to life.