Press-Republican

Local News

August 16, 2011

Lowe's leaves Ti; 86 jobless

(Continued)

TICONDEROGA —

ONLY SPECULATION

Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said she started receiving calls about the home-building-supply giant's withdrawal at about 10 p.m. Sunday.

"Nothing was said beforehand to anyone," she told the Press-Republican after the Essex County personnel meeting on Monday.

It is an economic-impact shock to everyone in surrounding towns, she said.

"I have no concrete answers as to why they closed the store, only speculation that closure of the (Champlain) bridge and the pressure of the current economy might have had some impact on the decision."

Malaney said she planned to contact lawmakers in Albany to see if there is any redress.

She also intended to call Lowe's corporate officials to ask if they have experienced fiscal issues that go beyond the economy and the Champlain Bridge closure.

The town worked hard for several years to secure a site for Lowe's near other retail giants, including Walmart and a McDonald's restaurant.

"Lowe's was under a 485B payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) program that offered reduced taxes for 10 years," Malaney said.

"But the PILOT is only good for an operational business."

DOESN'T BODE WELL

Lowe's spokeswoman said the site is leased.

"We will begin to work now to help find a tenant for the site," Lentz said.

But a 102,000-square-foot retail building is a large footprint, Malaney said.

Industrial Development Agency Co-Director Jody Olcott said county business developers had no prior warning that Lowe's had any intentions of leaving Essex County.

Olcott shopped at the home-supply store on Sunday and said the shelves were fully stocked and business seemed routine.

Essex County supervisors agreed that the business decision does not bode well for the region.

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