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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Wachs: Dick’s is waiting for town and village to act


MASSENA - The developer who owns the Harte Haven Shopping Center said he has no plans to acquire the land at the corner of state routes 37 and 420 unless he can locate a Dick’s Sporting Goods there.

“I have no interest in that land unless I can brings Dick’s to the table,” he said.

Mr. Wachs said he is prepared to pay “fair market value” for the land, which currently houses youth soccer and softball fields as well as an outdoor rink. But he said he would be looking for professionals to develop an appraisal that accurately reflects the value of that property. Massena officials have said the property has a value in the $800,000 based on comparable sales of other properties in the Route 37 and Main Street corridors in recent years.

“Unequivocally I am willing to pay fair market value for the land,” he said. “What we need to do next is determine what that value is. The sooner we can do that the better.”

When speaking about his proposal with Mayor James F. Hidy, Mr. Wachs said he had presented officials with a “Plan A” and a “Plan B.” Plan A called for the store to be located where the arena currently is, while Plan B called for the store to be located adjacent to the arena.

Plan A, which would have required the demolition of Massena Arena, was immediately shot down by village officials. Either plan would require joint approval from both the town and village, Mr. Hidy has said.

When asked if there was a Plan C, Mr. Wachs said there was not.

“Dick’s has made it clear that they want to be here,” he said. “They are now waiting for the town and village board to act.”

Referencing an email he received earlier this week from Massena Business Development Corporation Executive Director Thomas Sullivan, Mr. Wachs said it is his understanding an appraisal will be conducted in the near future.

“That’s where we are right now,” he said.

As for concerns about what would happen if he were to purchase the land and then Dick’s decided not to locate in Massena, Mr. Wachs said that isn’t something anyone needs to worry about.

“It’s no different than if Supervisor Gray (Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray) wanted to move across town. Before he officially bought the home, he would enter into a contract where certain conditions had to be met,” he said. “We would put this property under option to buy if specific conditions were met, one of which would be bringing a Dick’s Sporting Goods there.”

Mr. Wachs then referenced a non-scientific opinion poll that appeared on the Daily Courier-Observer’s website last week. The question was, “Do you think Massena officials should sell land that includes the arena annex to a developer to help lure Dick’s Sporting Goods to the area?”

A record number of respondents answered the question with 72 percent saying yes and 28 percent saying no.

“I am grateful to see a poll of the community was taken that showed by a near three to one margin the community wants to see Dick’s move forward,” he said. “That should be reason enough for the town and village to take action.”

Mr. Wachs said he has a meeting set up with officials from Dick’s Sporting Goods in “late May,” by which time Mr. Wachs said he’s hoping the property will have been appraised and optioned to him.

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