Press-Republican

September 25, 2012

PARC mission continues

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Little has changed over the past year for the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corp. as it continues to try to move the final properties.

“We’re at the 3-yard line,” PARC President and CEO Bruce Steadman said at the annual Board of Directors meeting Monday morning.

PARC recently celebrated turning over the final 732-acre parcel to Clinton County, officially ending the Air Force’s presence on the site, which dates back to the 1950s. The base closed in 1995, leaving the community with a 3,500-acre property with a flightline, hundreds of buildings and its own infrastructure.

Since the base closure, PARC has leased more than 200 properties, sold about 160 and has attracted about 60 businesses.

It still has nine parcels left to market as its mission draws down.

‘PRETTY GOOD SHAPE’

Steadman, who works as director of the Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority in New Jersey but still helps run PARC, said other communities trying to develop closed military installations across the country are struggling mightily.

“It is not a good time to be in the base redevelopment business, but we are in pretty good shape here,” he said.

The remaining parcels left for PARC to sell or lease amount to about 97 acres, with some prime locations on Arizona Avenue directly across from the flight line of Plattsburgh International Airport.

The airport has performed so well since it opened in 2007 that the county will undergo a major expansion of the terminal next spring.

Steadman said the success of the airport should help PARC market the final properties.

“We are going to aggressively market these parcels, but we are not going to give them away, either,” he said.

“Hopefully, more airport development will spur more interest here.”

NO SET TIMETABLE

Lee Mitchell, PARC’s chief financial officer, said PARC brought in $113,000 in lease payments in the fiscal year that ended June 30 and $115,000 in sales of properties.

The remaining property has a value of about $2.8 million.

The PARC staff has been trimmed from six part-time employees to five, and overall, expenses were down about 18 percent, he said.

Steadman said one of the best decisions PARC made, about 10 years ago, was to tear down any structures that were not worth preserving.

“We realized it is OK to tear buildings down to get vacant land, which can be very valuable,” he said.

One of those parcels is on New York Avenue near Route 9, where the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base Hospital once stood.

PARC has chosen CDC Real Estate to attract potential buyers for the remaining properties, including the hospital parcel.

“The market has been a bit sluggish in the commercial realm, but we are still advertising and over the last three months have generated some good leads,” Matt Boire of CDC said.

Steadman said there is still no set timetable for when PARC will phase itself out.

“Five years ago, we thought it would take two years,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com