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Harte Haven owner seeking to lure Dick’s Sporting Goods to shopping center

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MASSENA - The owner of the Harte Haven Shopping Center proposed local officials tear down the Massena Arena, home of the 2014 Division New York state high school hockey champions, so Dick’s Sporting Goods could locate a store at the site off state Route 37 near Massena’s Main Street.

Mayor James F. Hidy said developer Michael Wachs had raised the issue in recent correspondence with his office. “Mr. Wachs had posed the idea that he can bring Dick’s Sporting Goods into the community on a couple of conditions. I guess there’s two plans - Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A was for the village and town jointly to tear down the arena,” Mr. Hidy said.

“What’s Plan B?” Village Trustee Timothy J. Ahlfeld asked before the mayor could complete his thought.

“Exactly. So that wasn’t going to fly,” Mr. Hidy said. “His Plan B was that he would go back to Dick’s and pose them the properties that are behind the arena between the back end of the arena and the Ponderosa (Steakhouse.) The e-mail that I got from I think it’s the people that build for Dick’s was that they didn’t think the property was valuable enough for them.”

He said Mr. Wachs had suggested the village should simply turn the property over him so he could bring jobs into the community. The mayor said the village would be required by law to get fair market value for the parcel.

Mr. Hidy added that he then asked Town Assessor Michael Ward for a value for the property. Mr. Ward suggested the fair market value for the property was approximately $800,000, according to the mayor.

The property between Ponderosa and the arena currently is used as fields for youth softball and youth soccer.

“That’s worth $800,000. I don’t think so,” Mr. Ahlfeld said.

But Trustee Patricia K. Wilson said the assessor’s fair market value was reported based on property sales for comparable parcels on Route 37 and Main Street in the village. They would include the sites now housing Walgreen’s, Verizon Wireless, Pizza Hut and the parcel on Main at East Orvis Street purchased by developer Richard E. Maginn.

“So that’s where it stands right now. Mr. Wachs continues to contact myself and (BDC Executive Director Thomas Sullivan) to see if in fact we can do that,” Mr. Hidy told village trustees Tuesday night. “He’s convinced he can still bring Dick’s here. Mr. Wachs does have a lot of properties around the Harte Haven Plaza there and so we’re still in the talking stages.”

St. Lawrence Centre mall officials announced in May that the retailer had signed a lease to open a store in St. Lawrence Centre in the space previously occupied by TJ Maxx.

Following the announcement, plans had been called for work to start on renovating the store last fall, with a projected opening date of spring 2014. That work has never started at the mall.

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