MASSENA -- Following a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, the Town Council approved spending up to $82,000 of casino compact money to hire a Manhattan-based company to study building a multi-purpose events center, according to Town Supervisor Joseph Gray.
In a unanimous vote after an executive session, the board agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Manhattan Investment Partners and its affiliate, Venue Strategies, LLC, “to jointly pursue an effort on a phased basis regarding the analysis, planning, programming and development of the proposed multi-purpose events center to serve Massena and the surrounding region,” the agreement states.
“We’ve been negotiating with Venue Strategies for about six months on this project. I wasn’t sure if we were ready to finalize it but after discussing it further with Town Attorney Eric Gustafson at our meeting Wednesday we decided to move ahead with the MOU,” Gray said.
Phase one of the project involves a market demand study focusing on the Massena region and an area within a roughly 65-mile radius. The study will seek to identify the market need and demand for the proposed event center.
The MOU calls for a draft of the study to be completed and submitted to the town within 120 days of the signing. The town will submit comments on the draft and a final market demand study will be submitted to the town no more than 45 days after submission of the draft, Gray said.
“Quite honestly, we don’t know if any of these ideas make sense from a market demand standpoint,” Gray said.
The study, Gray said, will look at demand for:
• Multiple venues, including an indoor-outdoor year-round water park, ice sheet(s) for hockey tournaments, figure skating competitions, clinic and camps
• An expandable indoor turf space for all sports such as lacrosse, soccer, softball, baseball, football, gymnastics, etc.
• Special event and meeting space for conventions, meetings, trade shows, concerts, events, etc.
• Health and wellness activities such as an indoor track, rock climbing, fitness spaces, aerobics and dance studios
• Lodging in the form of a hotel co-located at the facility
• Ancillary space such as restaurants, retail shops, equipment rental, etc.