To The Editor,
There has been much discussion and speculation on what Sutton Real Estate has in mind for the Midtown Plaza site. Unfortunately much of the information being presented is inaccurate and does not represent the current development plans for the property.
Hopefully, this letter will provide some clarification on what we envision for Midtown Plaza and dispel some of the rhetoric regarding our alleged plans to develop a large scale low-income project on the Midtown Plaza site.
The current plan shows a mixed use development with retail, commercial office and market rate housing.
We agree with the city of Oswego and the local business community; creating more high quality housing is essential to keep the influx of professional workers from living outside the community. The retail component would include both spaces for the existing tenants at Midtown Plaza and additional uses that would complement the neighborhood.
The commercial needs have not been determined but we have received interest from a number of high profile tenants expressing an interest in being part of this development.
There have also been discussions regarding the loss of parking spaces as a result of our proposed development.
In reality approximately 75 spaces have already been lost due to the closure of the upper parking deck and the city has openly said the cost to rebuild the upper deck is not economically feasible at this time.
In our plan, we provided 30 parking spaces to be made available exclusively for public use.
Regardless of what development occurs at Midtown Plaza, it is clear the existing parking garage needs to be addressed soon or the lower level spaces may also become unusable.
We did not negotiate the deal to buy the parking garage in the back room of the Common Council Chambers as some would suggest. We were invited to attend the Oswego Canal Corridor Brownfield Opportunity Seminar hosted at the Riverside Banquet Room in April 2012. During the seminar, Midtown Plaza and the municipal parking garage were listed as potential development sites in the information package and described by the presenters as available for redevelopment.
Because we were in the process of purchasing the Midtown Plaza property it made sense for us to acquire the adjacent garage. We were not given any special treatment and if others had wanted to compete for the purchase of the property they had the same opportunity we did.
Another point that has been misrepresented frequently is the purchase price of the garage.
Our contract provides for paying the city of Oswego $1,000 plus the cost to demolish the parking garage.
The demolition costs included the cost to engineer and reinforce the retaining walls, install fencing, lighting, landscaping and repairs to the ground level parking surface.
Our price also included the cost to construct and maintain 30 municipal parking spaces for use by the neighboring businesses.
Our estimate of the construction costs and the fair market value of the municipal parking spaces exceed $250,000, the approximate land value of the property.
Midtown Plaza is not our first development project in Oswego.
We developed the former Seaway Supply building and manage and lease the Stevedore Lofts project for MCK Construction.
Both projects are good examples of how old decaying buildings can be transformed in to viable uses that complement the other development projects and the growth of the area’s workforce.
It is time to put the lawsuits and misinformation behind us and move forward with the development of the gateway to the city from the east.
This development will transform the blighted corner in to a modern mixed use development while providing needed housing for professionals, adding real estate tax revenue to the city and attracting retail uses not in this market.
It will also create construction and permanent jobs for the community.
Louis G. Fournier, III, CPM
President, The Sutton Companies