St. Lawrence County Planning Office seeking 360k grant to help market former GM site in Massena
Friday, January 17, 2014 - 6:14 am

Patricia Spitzley of the Revitalizing Auto Communities Economic Response Trust said CSX has expressed interest in turning the former General Motors site into a CSX select site.

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA -- The St. Lawrence County Planning Office has sent an application for a $360,000 Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) grant from the state’s Department of State to aid in selling the former General Motors site once remediation finishes.

The remaining $40,000 would come from the county, half in cash and half from in-kind services, including hours worked on the project by Heidi Ames of the county’s Planning Office.

“It takes two to three months” to get the grant approved, Ames told the North Country Redevelopment Task Force.

The county is working with the Revitalizing Auto Communities Economic Response trust to find a suitable buyer for the property. The Planning Office, using the grant funding, will figure out how the land can best be used and what types of businesses it would be suited for.

“[The BOA project] enhances what they (RACER) do so we can pull in the same direction,” task force chairman Tony Arquiett said.

Patricia Spitzley of RACER said CSX has shown serious interest in turning the property into a CSX select site. She added that a CSX consultant spent two days touring the property and speaking about the location with various officials.

“We believe the uniqueness of the site makes it an attractive piece of property,” Spitzley said. She noted its proximity to the Canadian border, availability of cheap power from the St. Lawrence-Roosevelt power dam and existing rail access.

“CSX Select Sites are the first, premium certified rail-served sites for industrial development and expansion. Select Site certification criteria include size, access to rail services, proximity to highways, workforce availability, natural gas, electricity, water, and wastewater, environmental and geo-technical standards,” according to the CSX website.

RACER is also making attempts to market the property in Canada.

“One of the best opportunities for re-development is across the border,” Spitzley said.

She noted that the property is being marketed with site selectors, which act as buying agents for corporations seeking new locations, of which there are about 20 worldwide.