Nightlights Bar demolished, lot listed at $160,000
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 1:37 pm

The former Nightlights Bar on Riverside Drive in Canton, also known as The Brass Rail, The Inside Track and Skivvies at other times, came down Monday morning. It is part of a block of commercial properties that is for sale. Photo submitted by Robert Crowe.

BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week

CANTON – The former Nightlights Bar on Riverside Drive was razed last week following code concerns over the roof, which had numerous holes visible from the street and obvious disrepair.

The old bar was known previously over the years as The Brass Rail, The Inside Track and Skivvies. It was part of a 5,666 square-foot commercial block owned by Don P. O’Neill which includes 25, 27, and 29 Riverside Drive.

The property, along with a parking lot across the road at 24 Riverside Drive, is listed on the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors webpage https://bit.ly/2M2sKI6 as a commercial lot for sale for $160,000 by Debbie Gilson of County Seat Realty. That sale amount and listing included the buildings that were in place prior to the demolition last week.

The entire property, not including the parking lot across the street, is assessed at $60,000.

The parking lot at 24 Riverside is between Canton Tire and the lot which formerly contained M.R. Bells Service station which the town, village, county and DEC removed and subsequently cleaned up under a joint agreement to rehabilitate. That work is part of a larger movement at the municipal level to rehabilitate Riverside Drive as a whole.

In 2017, the Canton economic development office applied for a $1 million Restore NY grant to rehabilitate the property, under a proposal by local businesswoman Hailey Hodge. Hodge, owner of Luna boutique at 18 Park St., was under negotiations with O’Neill to buy the property at the time.

Hodge’s proposal involved taking down the existing buildings there and constructing a three-story building to house about 19,000 square feet of commercial and retail units at 25, 27 and 29, with parking across the street at 24 Riverside.

The project would’ve cost over $3 million and require about $2 million in private investment. The grant was not secured, however, and the project is now on the backburner until funding and timing are appropriate said Hodge.

Hodge said now that there are no buildings at the lot, the Restore NY grant would not be able to be used for the work, but the project is included in Canton’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. If funding from that program is secured Hodge said she would “work hard to make the project even more viable.”

Village Mayor Mike Dalton said Canton Code Enforcement Officer Jeffrey Murray wanted something done with the property, specifically the roof. Dalton said the options were demolition or repairs. O’Neill opted to take the structure down, disconnected power to the lot and applied for a demolition permit on April 1, the mayor said.