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RACER may host “open house” for Massena GM site

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MASSENA — Ypsilanti Township, Mich., recently hosted an open house showcasing dozens of former General Motors plant sites in 14 states.

That event’s success is prompting the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust to consider another open house geared specifically for former GM sites in New York later this year.

Local officials want the trust, which still is considering locations, to host an event in the north country to improve the Massena GM Powertrain site’s chances for redevelopment.

More than 200 private investors, consultants, public officials and remediation experts attended the June 20 Michigan event sponsored by the trust. The majority of the dozens of former GM sites are in Michigan.

“It gave us the opportunity to introduce RACER on a larger scale,” Assistant Redevelopment Manager Patricia Spitzley said.

A New York open house could be a better opportunity to market the former GM sites in this state, Ms. Spitzley said. At the last north country redevelopment task force meeting, she mentioned the trust is considering Syracuse for its next open house because its location is closer to potential buyers.

The trust owns three former GM properties in New York: in Massena, Syracuse and Tonawanda, Ms. Spitzley said.

“We’ve had some requests from folks in New York to have a similar program,” she said. “You’d have all the communities together. You’d have redevelopers together. It’s a great opportunity for networking.”

But the trust also is open to scheduling an event in Massena, she said.

“We’re still exploring that,” she said.

County Legislator and task force Chairman Anthony J. Arquiett said he hoped the trust would schedule an open house in Massena.

“RACER has every intention on moving forward with an open house to help market the Massena site,” Mr. Arquiett said. “It will bring us another step closer to what we’re all looking for with that particular property. We’ll continue to work with them to find the best fit for the north country in regards to the former GM site.”

Massena Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said a Massena event, instead of one 150 miles away, would give prospective companies a better idea of the assets and attributes the GM site and the region have.

“The property is here. A prospective buyer gets a feel for the community, gets a feel for the quality of life that’s here,” he said. “You can bring them to Syracuse and tell them all this or bring them to Massena and show them all this.”

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