Plattsburgh developer Gilbert J. Jones will stop work on his waterfront hotel and marina projects in Ogdensburg and close the downtown movie theater he owns - all because of a falling out with the citys planning and development office.
On Tuesday, the city planning and development board turned down Mr. Joness request to amend a site plan for his proposed Riverfront Marina and Hotel, 119 W. River St., to include a 480-square-foot building by the 74-slip Oswegatchie River marina that would serve as a kitchen-equipped concession stand with outside seating.
The problem was that Mr. Jones went and had the building put up, demolishing the smaller existing structure that was a plain harbormasters kiosk - all without a site plan and outside the purview of a May 8 building permit that covered razing and renovation at the hotel proper. He told the board Tuesday he was not making excuses for what he did, but claimed he had a verbal commitment from Code Enforcement Officer Gregg A. Mallette to go ahead with the new building.
On Thursday, however, Mr. Jones turned up the volume, making it clear he was upset at the city for not cutting him some slack. Work on two apartments will be finished. But the 35-room hotel wont be built out of the former Ramada Inn by next year, the new building will remain an unfinished shell and the marina wont open. Also, his Ogdensburg Cinemas at 219 Ford St., closed for repairs, will stay shut.
Im just going to let it all rot, he said. Everything with the city is no, no, no, no. The whole thing is because of that harbormaster (concession) building.
The cinema, according to Mr. Jones, loses $5,000 annually. It also needs a digital projection system that, at an estimated cost of $100,000, he cannot afford now.
Interim Planning and Development Andrea L. Smith said she heard Mr. Joness threats to shut down before.
He has intentionally evaded the process, she said Thursday.
Mrs. Smith, who dismissed the developers claim that Mr. Mallette endorsed the building, said her office wants always to work with Mr. Jones. But the new building, she said, represented enough of a substantial change of use to warrant full site plan review.
Mrs. Smith isnt alone in hoping that Mr. Jones continues his development. So does a fellow marina district stakeholder.
I hope that Mr. Jones gets everything worked out, said William D. Hosmer, who owns the recently-opened Hosmers Marina, 54 E. River St., and is a city councilor. The development of the waterfront is Ogdensburgs future.
Mr. Jones said he has spent $200,000 of his money on the hotel and marina project, which he has estimated at costing about $1.2 million.