Press-Republican

December 2, 2012

Rouses Point committee identifies priority properties

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

ROUSES POINT — The Rouses Point Revitalization Committee has a compiled list of potential redevelopment properties.

Revitalization Project Manager Melissa McManus is working with Troy-based River Street Planning and Development on the rejuvenation project. The initial step has been to identify vacant or underutilized properties on the main route through town along Lake Street.

Monica Ryan, a principal planner at River Street, led a review of buildings that could be part of the project. She said the plan is to talk with the property owners to gauge their interest in working with the committee to see if redevelopment assistance is available.

Ryan said the goal is to “try to get people back into downtown.”

McManus said no one is intending to have the village acquire the properties. The plan is to see if assistance is available to get private investors to put sites back to use, as some have been vacant for a decade or more.

TARGETED SITES

The list of properties starts with the Saxony, former home to a nightclub and apartments that burned years ago. Ryan said work is under way to create apartments on the lower level. 

The next site is the Rope Ferry building, a large stone structure across the street. The owner’s plan for that building is unknown at present.

Next door to that, the Log Cabin Motel is now owned by Vance and Dorothy Mossey. McManus said that property could fit in with the accommodations study that is part of the revitalization plan.

Village Councilor Becky Reid said the owner of the Anchorage has asked for an extension on filling the hole left when the restaurant was destroyed by fire in November 2007 until after he can sell the property. 

The former Kathy’s Furniture building is the prime retail space available in downtown Rouses Point, McManus said. Ryan said the owner resides in the upper level and is only looking to lease the retail and storage space.

The Calgah Computer Systems building sits next to Lakeside Coffee. As with many downtown properties, parking is an issue there.

McManus said it would be great if the properties on the east side of Lake Street were able to develop the land in back, which offers scenic sites right along the lake.

The Twigg Building, just north of the village park, would require extensive interior renovation. Parking could be developed behind the building if the addition were to be removed.

The properties at 93 and 95 Lake Street are apartments, including units on the ground floor. Reid said they would prefer ground-floor space to be commercial or retail.

Under the village’s new zoning code, first-floor residential is no longer an approved use, Ryan said.

CAFE COMEBACK

Melissa Baker said she and her husband, Village Mayor Francis “Bumper” Baker, are in negotiations to lease and reopen the former Old Tymes Cafe. They would like to operate the restaurant for breakfast and lunch, as well as the bar.

“Anctil’s will live again,” Mrs. Baker said.

Their plans do not include the bakery and pizza shop next door. That property has some issues with compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility rules.

LIQUOR STORE

Richard Seguin said he is negotiating purchase of West’s Liquors and Wines and hopes to finalize that within the next couple weeks. He would like to shrink the liquor store and open a separate beer and convenience store in the remaining space.

The former Ben Franklin and F.W. Myers buildings are set up as office space, part of which is already under lease. McManus said it is unlikely someone would look to start a business in either of those locations.

It was agreed that all of the property owners should be contacted to gauge their interest in possible assistance for redevelopment.

Email Dan Heath dheath@pressrepublican.com

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NEXT MEETING 

The next meeting of the Rouses Point Revitalization Committee is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, at the Rouses Point Civic Center. Meetings are open to the public.