Press-Republican

July 26, 2013

NCCC plan eyes Hotel Flanagan

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

MALONE — The Hotel Flanagan is included in expansion plans that North Country Community College has drawn up to make downtown Malone a college town.

The college also hopes to develop a hydropower project.

And NCCC wants to offer a four-year degree program, possibly related to food service, at its Malone campus, starting in the fall of 2014, that is expected to generate jobs and downtown retail opportunities. That would be done in partnership with another, unnamed college.

Officials said the expansion could mean 120 to 150 additional students, which would be in line with the college’s goal of increasing its enrollment.

NCCC will seek funding through private investors, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and other sources to make its plans a reality.

‘VERY EXCITING’

The Malone Town Council endorsed the college’s Consolidated Funding Application to the Regional Council at its meeting Wednesday night.

“It’s very exciting,” said Town Supervisor Howard Maneely. “This will really help bring Main Street back, and it will be nice to have students back in the community.”

He noted that after World War II, Clarkson College had a satellite campus in Malone, “so it will be good for the community to have the students, and they spend money.”

The plan includes using a portion of the Flanagan Hotel, which has been vacant since an arson fire gutted the structure in 1997.

Maneely said he isn’t sure what the development there will involve, but said a major announcement is planned for the first week in August.

FIVE-YEAR PLAN

College President Dr. Steven Tyrell spoke to Franklin County legislators about the plans last week, saying it is part of a five-year strategy to partner with private investors and state agencies to create jobs in Malone, Saranac Lake and Ticonderoga.

Tyrell said he envisions creating a “college-town atmosphere” in each community that brings students into closer contact with each municipality.

He said as many as 100 jobs could be added, carrying least $11 million in economic impact in the next three years.

RECRUITING STUDENTS

In a resolution sent to Roseanne Murphy, executive director of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, town officials said the college’s plan is in line with the council’s overall strategy for the region and with Malone’s Local Waterfront Redevelopment Plan, which was accepted by the state in 2012.

Student housing would be part of the downtown plans, where private investors would build or refurbish the buildings that the college would eventually lease.

NCCC says out-of-state enrollment “from neighboring counties and parts of Canada” could increase with the housing opportunities.

“The college has already begun recruiting students from these new markets and has introduced a housing scholarship to attract new students to programs under expansion,” the letter states.

POWER PROJECT

The hydropower project would bring a 350-kilowatt hydro-generator in the Salmon River online.

The electricity produced would power the college’s Fine Arts program kilns and forges and open up opportunities to partner with investors, other colleges and Cornell Cooperative Extension for agricultural-technology programs.

That could include hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic industries that could, for example, provide fresh produce year-round to schools and Joint Council for Economic Opportunity programs and create more jobs.

The resolution concludes that the Town Council supports the efforts of the Village Board, whose members are working with NCCC on agreements for infrastructure, parking and public transportation.

HOTEL IN LIMBO

The Flanagan, at the corner of Main and Elm streets, was vacant following the 1997 arson fire, and a man who broke into the boarded-up building during a night of drinking fell to his death down the elevator shaft in 1999.

Frank Cositore Jr., who is now a town justice in Malone, purchased the building in 2004 as president of UICC Holding Corp. LLC with plans to create a high-end hotel to attract national conventions and events.

He spent $2 million of his own money to clean tons of debris and pigeon droppings out of the site and also secured a $2.1 million grant from the Empire State Development Office’s Restore NY Program in 2007 to build a Best Western Inn and Suites franchise.

But when other financing fell through, the building went into foreclosure.

Stone Mountain Prime LLC purchased it for $500,000 in 2009, with Cositore acting as the local agent for the new owners.

Cositore presented a scaled-down version of the hotel-development plan to the County Industrial Development Agency in May 2012, but no movement has come about with that plan.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com