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Massena village sells Slavin’s building to revitalization LLC

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MASSENA - The village has sold the Slavin’s building to the Downtown Massena LLC, a recently-formed corporation open to anyone in the community willing to expend time and money to revitalize the building.

According to Mayor James F. Hidy, the terms of the sale state that the Downtown Massena LLC must invest $500,000 toward the revitalization of the building within a two-year time period. If the investors fail to put that amount toward efforts to restore the building and reopen it for retail, commercial and residential space, the LLC will have to pay the village $72,000.

Mr. Hidy said he’s excited to see the old building, which had been damaged and suffered from vandalism, be turned into usable space for businesses, retailers and residents. “This falls in the right time and place for the revitalization of downtown. The people have looked for too long at a vacant building,” he said.

The Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena has long been planning ways to jump-start and support a Main Street LLC, a group of local investors pooling their resources to revitalize downtown buildings.

Bringing a group together minimizes the risk for any one investor, according to Rick Hauser of In. Site Architecture, the BDC’s revitalization consultant.

The BDC had previously considered two other locations for the LLC - the Sunrise Mall at 48-50 Main St., and the Massena School of Business, near the corner of Main and Andrews streets.

BDC President Daniel S. Pease said the Slavin’s building has a number of “unique advantages,” such as upper-floor living space with views of the Grasse River, which could be turned into luxury apartments. He also feels the BDC couldn’t let the building continue to remain unoccupied and deteriorate during their efforts to revitalize downtown Massena.

“It was a big hole that needed to be fixed,” Mr. Pease said.

Mr. Pease said the Downtown Massena LLC was formed last week but they won’t formally accept members into the LLC until it finalizes its plans to revitalize the Slavin’s building. The LLC will be headed by Massena resident Vance Fleury, owner of RiverCrest Enterprises, Inc., and members of the BDC board of directors will be involved, Mr. Pease said. The LLC is open to anyone in the community.

In March, Mr. Hauser held a public information session on the LLC, attended by about 15 people who’d shown interested in contributing to the LLC. “We heard a lot of interest - both from investing money and a wide variety of parties that have contracting, management and legal skills of interest,” Mr. Hauser said.

In some cases, individuals can offer services rather than money to help jump-start the LLC, such as a contractor helping out with the renovations to the chosen building. Existing businesses and corporations may also invest in the LLC with a goal of generating more commerce in Massena’s downtown, Mr. Hauser said.

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