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Wachs agrees to pay for appraisal at potential site of Dick’s Sporting Goods

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MASSENA - When Michael Wachs first heard that Dick’s Sporting Goods wasn’t going to be locating at St. Lawrence Centre, his initial effort was to build a store for the retailer on land he owns between Walmart and Grove Street.

“I immediately reached out to Dick’s and their representatives, (Yes I really am in contact with them), and suggested to Dick’s that they consider the land between Grove Street and Walmart,” he wrote in a letter to the editor (see page A-4) submitted to the Daily Courier-Observer. “They immediately rejected this alternative site.”

In fact, Mr. Wachs said it would be easier for him if Dick’s would have been willing to locate there.

“I went to Dick’s and asked them if they wanted that land and they immediately said it wasn’t up to their standards,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday. “I would have just had to get a building permit and follow all the local laws.”

But with Dick’s not wanting to locate there on land already he already owned, Mr. Wachs said he had to come up with another option, which led to the now defunct plan of locating the store on the site of the current Massena Arena.

“Mayor (James) Hidy and Supervisor Joseph Gray rightly and quickly dismissed this first idea and the second option surfaced where the Massena Arena and Dick’s could in effect be “shoulder to shoulder,” much like the Home Depot and Walmart SuperCenter,” he wrote.

Mr. Wachs said he would like to make it clear that Plan A is off the table and no one is considering doing anything to the arena.

“We are all in this together,” he wrote. “Everyone in attendance at that meeting (Tuesday night’s joint village and town board meeting), the village and town board members, Mayor Hidy, BDC Executive Director Sullivan, Supervisor Gray, Massena’s sports and recreation commission members, the members of the press, the passionate and devoted families of Massena’s young hockey phenoms all have a hand in helping to shape a brighter future for the community,” he wrote. “There is no us against them here. It is only we. At least that is my view.”

Mr. Wachs also said in his letter that he has no problem paying for an appraisal of the lot near the corner of state routes 37 and 420, where he is hoping to locate the store.

“I have stated to BDC Executive Director Tom Sullivan that I will pay for the cost of this appraisal as long as it is conducted by a reputable firm such as Cushman and Wakefield,” Mr. Wachs wrote.

When asked if Cushman and Wakefield, a real estate firm with an office in Syracuse, would be conducting the appraisal, Mr. Wachs said at this point he wasn’t sure.

“I would have no way of knowing that,” he said.

Mr. Wachs also said that it is important for people to remember that Dick’s isn’t just another store, and he is confident that with the cooperation of both boards he can bring a Dick’s Sporting Goods store to Massena.

“I am of the firm belief that if the many pieces of this puzzle can be put together it will result in a major win for Massena as Dick’s is not simply just another retailer,” he wrote. “They are, in fact, the preeminent and number 1 sporting goods retailer in America boasting almost 500 stores.”

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