OFA graduate has development plans for Ford Street mall
By JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
OGDENSBURG – An Alexandria Bay businessman and Ogdensburg Free Academy graduate has purchased the Ford Street mall formerly owned by the Amvets.
George Ruddy III, owner of Cavallario’s Steak and Seafood House, purchased the property with hopes of rehabilitating it and leasing it to interested businesses.“I grew up in Ogdensburg. I’m from there. I like to keep some roots and ties to it. I’ve seen a lot of positive things happening there recently and I wanted to be part of it,” he said.
Ruddy says he’s already seeing significant interest in the space.
“We’ve got a lot of action on it right now,” he said. “No less than a dozen people have contacted me already, which is great,” he said.
Ruddy says he chose to invest in the city because he is fond of his hometown and because it’s a good place to do business.
“The city has been phenomenal to work with,” he said.
He said the help he received from City Planner Andrea Smith and City Manager Sarah Purdy was a big a reason he moved forward with the purchase. He also credited the Department of Public Works for their assistance in fixing a water main issue at the complex.
“For them to help me out the way they did was great,” he said. “It’s nice to come back to the city you grew up in and see that people still care and are still trying to make a difference.”
“You hear a lot of negative about the city, but in my experience it was a pleasure to work with them,” he said. “That's a big reason I decided to do something.”
Ruddy said he hopes to fill the mall with rentals and he is willing to work with interested parties to meet their needs as he rehabilitates the facility. He said construction there will pick up once the weather breaks, but he has already begun gutting the inside with help from Premier Building Associates.
He expects to have more news on his plans in the spring.