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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 Downtown Massena LLC, a recently formed corporation open to anyone in the community willing to spend time and money to revitalize the building.

According to Mayor James F. Hidy, the terms of the sale state that Downtown Massena LLC must invest $500,000 toward the revitalization of the building within two years. If the investors fail to put that amount toward efforts to reopen the building, 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, stores and apartments.

“This falls in the right time and place for the revitalization of downtown. The people have looked for too long at a vacant building,” Mr. Hidy said.

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

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

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

BDC President Daniel S. Pease said the Slavin’s building has a number of advantages, such as upper-floor living space with views of the Grasse River. He said he feels the BDC couldn’t let the building remain unoccupied and continuing to deteriorate.

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

Mr. Pease said Downtown Massena LLC was formed last week but won’t formally accept members until it finalizes its plans to revitalize the Slavin’s building. The LLC will be headed by 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 that was attended by about 15 people who showed interest in 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.

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