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Ogdensburg Cinemas owner, Growth Fund disagree over loan request


OGDENSBURG — Disagreements about how many jobs would be created led the Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corp. and the owner of the movie theater in the city to part ways over how much he can borrow for improvements.

The city’s lending agency offered Monday to loan Plattsburgh developer Gilbert J. Jones $60,000 instead of the $100,000 he requested to install digital projection equipment for his twin-screen Ogdensburg Cinema I and II theaters at 219 Ford St. Both sums come with 3.25 percent interest rates payable over seven years.

Mr. Jones proposed a new set of terms after the meeting.

“I might consider $60,000 at zero percent interest in four years,” he said. “I’m not going to reopen it unless they consider my request.”

The Growth Fund based its offer on what its bylaws allow where lending is concerned. That means $15,000 for every 35-hour-a-week, full-time-equivalent job created.

Mr. Jones’s initial request called for 12 full- and part-time jobs over three years with positions including manager, film booker, projectionists and concession workers.

The Growth Fund board, after reviewing Mr. Jones’s request, concluded that it accounted only for four full-time-equivalent positions.

He then changed his calculations, concluding he would need seven full-time employees.

City Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith said that Mr. Jones also has to provide the Growth Fund with more sufficient collateral before a loan can be considered.

“The Growth Fund is very eager to work with him,” she said.

Mr. Jones closed the cinema in July after the city alleged building code violations in the construction of a concession stand near the former Ramada Inn at 119 W. River St., which he owns and plans to renovate. The dispute was settled when Mr. Jones and the city agreed on the design of the building.

Mr. Jones bought the cinema in 1980 and has since spent $85,000 on a new roof and ventilation system. He also installed a $73,000 marquee with assistance from a $50,000 state grant, and recently spent $42,000 for additional renovations.

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