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Great Laker Development resurrects plan for Massena riverfront

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MASSENA - Great Laker Development is resurrecting a plan to develop approximately 31 acres of riverfront land north of Route 131.

Great Laker, a partnership between Richard E. Maginn of Heritage Homes and Perras Excavating’s Jeff and Mark Tyo, submitted revised development plans to the town last week. The proposed subdivision includes 19 single family home lots along the St. Lawrence River, 11 lots for duplexes and space for two six-unit apartment buildings; one acre is also reserved for commercial development. The lots for sale would have septic systems and a municipal water supply.

Great Laker first proposed developing that land, northeast of Route 131 and the Pontoon Bridge Road, several years ago. The development firm previously planned to construct a few dozen condominiums with boat slips. Great Laker initially purchased 15 acres from Op-Tech Environmental Services to begin the development in 2006.

In July 2009, Great Laker expanded the development’s size by purchasing approximately 16 adjacent acres from the Massena Town Council for $450,000. The town had received that land from the New York Power Authority during the 2003 relicensing of the St. Lawrence -FDR Power Project.

Mark Tyo said Great Laker scrapped the condominium plans in favor of a mix of residential and commercial development.

“We weren’t sure how the townhouses were going to work out,” Mr. Tyo said. “It looks like the subdivision is going to work better.”

Mr. Maginn and the Tyos had busy construction schedules the last couple of years, which delayed the development, Mr. Tyo said.

“It’s tough for us to get the forces to get out there and get working on it,” he said.

The three Great Laker partners decided after meeting this summer to push forward with the development.

“Every year we’re paying taxes on this,” Mr. Tyo said. “We’ve heard people are eager to look at the lots when they are completed.”

Mr. Tyo said he believes that demand exists for riverfront property in the town.

“Hopefully, the interest is still there when the property becomes available,” he said. “It’s tough to find riverfront property. It makes that property very appealing.”

Mr. Tyo said Great Laker hopes to have the subdivision infrastructure installed by spring of 2013. Great Laker must first obtain preliminary approval from the town’s planning board, and then final approval as a “planned unit development” from the Massena Town Council, according to Code Enforcement Officer Gregory C. Fregoe.

Supervisor Joseph D. Gray lauded Great Laker for moving forward.

“It’s been back on the tax rolls for a couple of years. This is a way to improve that land, add value to it, and generate more tax value for the town,” Mr. Gray said. “Both the Tyo family and the Maginn family have stellar reputations for development.”

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