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Simao to buy property needed to lure grocery store to soon-closing Carl’s Furniture

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Developer P.J. Simao has a contract to buy the 1-acre commercial lot behind Kinney Drugs on State Street, land that will be used for signage if a grocery store decides to move into Carl’s Furniture City.

The Alexandria Bay developer said his plan to buy the property from Watertown Center Development LLC, New Hartford, is needed to attract a grocery store to the soon-closing furniture store.

The 5-acre commercial lot at Carl’s Furniture City is owned by Vogel Properties LLC, New Hartford. Mr. Simao has a purchase option on the 27,000-square-foot building that expires at the end of the year.

Trees on land surrounding Carl’s Furniture controlled by Mr. Simao were cleared by construction workers in August and September, with the goal of making the site more attractive to a grocery store franchise. The developer has sought interest from Price Chopper, Tops Friendly Markets and Save-a-Lot.

Nearby land also was cleared surrounding the former Watertown Savings Bank at 1833 State St., which Mr. Simao owns.

“I’ve cleared out both sides of my property, and all of the stumps on land at Carl’s Furniture,” Mr. Simao said. “To give this the best chance to succeed, I needed to clean the property up. We’re now in the process of trying to find a grocery store to go in there.”

The small strip of land between Kinney Drugs and McDonald’s, where a two-story white house now is located, was included in Mr. Simao’s purchase contract with Watertown Center Development, which owns the former Northland Plaza at Eastern Boulevard and State Street. That sale, including the property behind Kinney Drugs, is expected to be closed on by Mr. Simao in early 2014.

Dundon Avenue, which serves as a Kinney Drugs entrance, also leads to the parking lot facing Carl’s Furniture.

“There’s signage for the plaza on Eastern Boulevard but not State Street, so I’m buying the property because any tenant is going to need signage on State Street,” Mr. Simao said. “In my opinion, that parcel is important to delineate the entrance on the State Street side. That is your closest entrance to Carl’s.”

Mr. Simao added that a fast-food franchise recently expressed interest in the 1,900-square-foot building previously occupied by Watertown Savings Bank, which he bought in 2005.

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