By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON – Commercial space at Rushton Place, the largest downtown construction project in several decades, is all leased and some tenants will be moved in as early as Aug. 1.
John Gray, Jr. of Gray and Gray CPAs P.C. says his accounting firm will be moving into a 3,000 square foot office, one of the three commercial spaces on the ground floor. Gray is a partner with Richard McGinn of Heritage Homes, Massena, in the revitalization of the building that formerly housed Gray Lanes bowling alley.
The largest space will not be occupied until Sept. 1, Gray said, again declining to name the tenant. But he noted he expects to see as many as 30 people working in the larger space.
However, in published reports today, Johnson Newspapers confirmed they will be relocating numerous employees to Rushton Place as the firm undergoes a reorganization and consolidation in St. Lawrence County.
Johnson publishes the Watertown Daily Times as well as Daily Courier-Observer in Massena and Potsdam, The Journal and the Advance News in Ogdensburg, and the St. Lawrence Plaindealer in Canton.
Employees now working in the Plaindealer and Watertown Times offices at 73-75 Main will move into the Rushton space. A number of other Johnson employees now working out of offices in Potsdam and Ogdensburg will also be transferred to the new Canton location.
Another tenant, renting about 1,100 square feet in the building at the corner of Main Street and Riverside Drive, has indicated they would also be moving in by Aug. 1, Gray said. That tenant is reported to be Grasse River Heritage.
The total square footage on the ground floor at Rushton Place is 10,100 square feet. About 1,000 square feet of the total is for things like hallways and utility space, Gray said.
Gray said the 8,500 square feet upstairs has been divided into five condominiums.
The moves by the commercial tenants will also prompt a number of changes to the appearance of downtown Canton.
Gray did not know if there had been any inquiries from prospective tenants interested in renting his current prominently located office at 7 Main St. The owner is Don Noble, who now lives in Alaska, Gray said.
The space now occupied by Watertown Daily Times and Plaindealer offices at 73-75 Main St. is owned by the St. Lawrence County Newspaper Corp., according to village records. The newspapers reported today they plan to seek buyers for their Canton and Ogdensburg buildings.
The old Gray Lanes, once a garage built by people who are no relation to John Gray, he says, had been purchased by the Grasse River Heritage Area Development Corporation, the local downtown redevelopment organization.
Once Gray and McGinn had laid out their plans for what would be called Rushton Place, a $1.25 million Restore NY II grant for the project was awarded, through the Town of Canton, to turn the old bowling alley building into the commercial space and riverside condominiums that are about to be occupied.
The total project cost was estimated to be in the $2.5 to $3.1 million range.