Press-Republican

February 17, 2013

City to pursue tenants for waterfront restaurant site

JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh officials hope to get a new tenant for a waterfront restaurant site, but if they can’t, the building could be torn down.

“We believe there is some great potential there, and we want to make sure that is recognized,” Councilor James Calnon (I-Ward 4) said.

The building was constructed at the Dock Street Landing as part of the city’s waterfront revitalization plan, housing Clare and Carl’s, a popular local restaurant known for its michigan hot dogs, from 2005 to 2010.

EMPTY TWO YEARS

Clare and Carl’s owner Terry Murray was in the midst of re-negotiating a lease agreement in the spring of 2011 when Lake Champlain flooding swamped the building, causing extensive damage.

Murray decided not to renew a lease with the city when negotiations hit a snag over price and the length of a deal, and the building sat empty for the summers of 2011 and 2012.

The city put in an insurance claim, but was denied because it did not have flood insurance. An attempt to get aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency also failed.

Mayor Donald Kasprzak said the city opted not to purchase flood insurance on the building because it cost about $12,000. Rent from the building only generated $7,314 per season when it was open.

The restaurant was only open during the summer months.

SEEKING ESTIMATES

The insurance and FEMA claims for the flood damage dragged into 2012, which is the reason the building sat empty last summer.

“We’ve got to decide what to do with this building, and I am confident that we can make a decision by this spring,” Mayor Donald Kasprzak said.

The mayor included $35,000 in the 2013 budget for repairs, and Calnon said the council is seeking estimates for the work.

“There has been some interest in the building from a few people, and we think it could be an asset to that public area,” Calnon said.

“That building has worked well with the fishing tournaments we have down there, and it still could be compatible.”

City Corporation Counsel John Clute said requests for proposals to do the renovation work should be ready to go out in a few weeks.

RAZING AN OPTION

Clare and Carl’s featured window take-out food and outdoor seating with service. The mayor said he would like to see a place with indoor seating as well.

The council will also consider non-restaurant uses such as a rental center for kayaks, bicycles and in-line skates.

Calnon said rental rates would be negotiated with any potential tenant.

“We are not even sure yet what we will have down there, if anything, so that will all work itself out,” he said.

If plans to rehabilitate and lease the building are not feasible, Calnon said, the council may consider demolishing the building.

“We’re not married to anything at this point,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com