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United Helpers looks at former Community Resource Center site

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OGDENSBURG — On Monday, City Council members worried that much of the municipally owned property slated for auction this summer was unlikely to attract a buyer, but one downtown parcel already has attracted interest.

Michele M. Montroy, administrator of Mosaic, a subsidiary of United Helpers, told the council her company might bid on the former St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center’s Community Resource Center at 100 Ford St.

“We are interested in the CRC building,” she said. “It looks like it might work better for us than the Filtran Building.”

Filtran, a subsidiary of API Nanotronics of Toronto, manufactured electronic components in 16,500 square feet of space in the same building from 1996 until 2008, when it moved production overseas. The company still owns part of the building.

Mosaic expressed interest in moving its staff training and day habilitation program from the former Cedars Nursing Home in the town of Oswegatchie to the former Filtran facility, but the adjacent city-owned CRC property might be a better fit for the company.

“We have not closed on the Filtran building,” Ms. Montroy said. “To move into the Filtran building, we would have to do a major renovation.”

Ms. Montroy said the CRC parcel would require less work because it had been occupied more recently. St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center closed the facility last fall. Over the past three years, vandals have targeted the vacant Filtran property.

At 20,000 square feet, the CRC space is slightly larger than the Filtran property, leaving United Helpers with more room to expand. Moving into the CRC space also would place another property on the city’s tax rolls and breathe some much-needed life into the near-vacant mall.

Stephen E. Knight, CEO of Mosaic’s parent company, United Helpers, said he wanted to move the day habilitation facility this year.

Andrea L. Smith, interim city planner, said Mosaic would not be able to buy the property from the city directly.

“This property we do have to sell at the public auction,” she said. “It is because we did take the property through tax sale.”

Building 5-A of the Ogdensburg Mall was owned by Plattsburgh developer Gilbert J. Jones but was purchased by the city in 1995 after a dispute.

“There was a debate over whether the city or Mr. Jones owned that property,” interim City Manager Philip A. Cosmo said. “The judge ruled that it was ours.”

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