Development plans for former shopping center revealed

PLATTSBURGH Plans for the former North Country Shopping Center off State Route 9 in the Town of Plattsburgh have been unveiled, with hopes by developers the dilapidated plaza could become a new commercial hub for the county. Peter W. Edelmann, president of EuroWest Companies, Essex, Vt., and Yves E. Bradley, vice president of Pomerleau Real Estate, Burlington, Vt., joined to make the announcement at the site of the former shopping center Oct. 24. According to Mr. Edelmann, the developers are seeking to create $80 million to $100 million in commercial development that would include the building of a mixture of retail, drug and market stores. The plan, he added, would consist of 600,000-square-feet of commercial buildings. An initial outline, which Mr. Edelmann said was the fifth revision of the developers original draft, depicts 11 buildings loosely configured along the 70-acre property and more than 2,000 parking spaces created to accommodate the anticipated demand. Among the first of buildings to be constructed, Mr. Edelmann said, will be a state-of-the-art 12-screen cinema, featuring stadium seating. The cinema will be independently owned and operated, he added, offering first-run releases and potentially art house-type movies. The theater, said Mr. Edelmann, would likely be constructed in time to open next summer, following a spring demolition of the propertys existing outdated buildings. The construction of one or two restaurants would likely be the next step in the process, with those opening next fall. Other amenities will include an outdoor soccer field and a retention pond, which will be functional for storm-water runoff and as an attractive view for restaurants that could build around it. North Bowl Lanes will dovetail into those plans, said Mr. Edelmann, as the buildings owner, Robert Munson, is examining plans to make improvements to his business, which is also situated on the property. The five- to seven-year development process will depend largely on commitments of business who have expressed interest in locating at the site, which would involve landing a major anchor business, with other businesses following suit, said Mr. Edelmann. He would not disclose who or what those businesses are, though he stressed the businesses would compliment, not replace, commercial developments in other sections of Plattsburgh, including along State Route 3, where retailers, restaurants and other businesses currently coexist. The businesses would also help relieve some unnecessary traffic congestion on State Route 3, offering motorists other options for sales and service a few exits from the city off Interstate 87. In addition, Mr. Edelmann stated bringing a financial institution to the development would also be favored, which may be possible through local banks developers are working with for financing of the project. Theres a lot of great things happening in Plattsburgh, said Mr. Edelmann. What were doing will help, we think, attract both businesses and residents because were adding a quality of lifestyle that we feel is lacking in this area. What weve got is literally a blank slate, Mr. Bradley said of the former shopping center property. Its time for us to stop going across the lake for things we cant get here. The developers are currently in the process of developing a Web site where members of the community may give them an idea of just what that is. Once on-line, the Web site will allow for suggestions and other feedback to be made in order to facilitate the development process. The proposed development, which has been in the discussion phase for more than a year, will be a welcome and extremely positive addition to what the town has to offer its residents and those visiting the area, said Plattsburgh town supervisor Bernard C. Bassett. The supervisor added the undetermined amount of jobs to be created paired with what sales tax revenue the complex would generate for the town and the county will also be a welcome result. In our community its been a struggle for many years with high expectations and some disappointments sometimes. There are a lot of people whove wanted to do things; weve wanted to move forward. Its not always easy, said Mr. Bassett. I think these people are going to make a significant change and have a huge impact on our community. Some businesspeople may see this as competition, and there will be that concern, but I dont think it is going to have a negative impact on businesses that are already here, said District Four County Legislator Sara E. Rowden, who was also in attendance for the press conference. I think its going to only enhance their business.

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