Public comment sought on $2.2M grant for Scanlon Auto building upgrade in Potsdam
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
POTSDAM — The village is accepting comments from the public on whether or not it should write a grant to fund a $2.2 million rehab project of the former Scanlon Auto Parts building.
Plans for rehabilitating the 12,000-square-foot building at 4 and 6 Depot St. call were presented to the village board at its meeting Monday, Sept. 19, during a public hearing on the project.Potsdam-based architect Brooks Washburn who is designing the rehabilitation plan showed village board members aerial views of the project along with renderings of some of the work slated for the building.
The building is currently owned by Pam and Larry Hazen under their real estate company Trezza Realty LLC.
“What’s probably exciting about this is that it is just one more thing that will be happening in that part of the village,” Washburn told the board. Other developments around the block have included the SLC Arts Creative Spirit Arts Center, the Children’s Museum, Garner Park, and future plans for the Market Square Mall which is owned by Washburn.
If the village signs on to the project, the Hazens would cover $200,000 of the work, and the village would apply for a grant through the state Restore New York Communities Initiative to cover the rest. No village tax dollars would be spent directly on the project, other than covering the time spent by Village Planner Fred Hanss to write the grant.
The village would be the lead applicant on the grant.
The structure has long sat idle after the parts store closed there in 2014 and a fire in 2015 condemned the building.
Washburn said the project will be to maintain the current building and parking area, except for a small garage which is not part of the structure.
“There will be parking provided with the building which is an important component of downtown enhanced activity,” Washburn said.
“The building itself has some interesting history,” the architect said. The structure was originally part of the Oval Wood Dish Factory.
The entire building is made up of three sections, Washburn said. The three-story brick portion facing Raymond Street would be maintained with apartments on the second and third floors, with two shop fronts on the street level.
The middle section, which was the original Oval Wood Dish Factory, features a notable interior steel structure, Washburn pointed out.
“It's a very pretty building in there after Larry (Hazen) stripped out the auto parts,” he said. That section would be converted into an events space with possibly a microbrewery or commercial kitchen.
More apartment spaces could be sited in the third section.
Washburn said he never paid much attention to the building over the years. “But it's a gorgeous building in a good part of town,” he said.
He said there wouldn’t be any significant alterations to the exterior of the building.
“It’s a beautiful building,” Hazen said. “It’s just gorgeous on the inside. I’m not exactly sure what will come along to be in it, but it has a lot of potential.”
Hazen said the building has “good, solid bones” and the project would take about a year.
The village is accepting written comments on the grant at the village offices at 2 Park St. until Sept. 30, Hanss said. The deadline to file the grant application is in mid October.