FULTON, NY – Demolition remains ongoing at the former Nestles property in Fulton, specifically targeting the more than two acre corner lot promised to global supermarket chain, ALDI.
The total site made up of 24 acres located at 555 S. Fourth St. has been undergoing demolition by Infinity Enterprises who won the project bid in October 2015 with the offer to complete the demolition at no cost to the city, only the rights to all salvageable materials on site.
Demolition began almost immediately and became visible to the public the following spring, starting with emphasis on the section of the site guaranteed to Aldi for the purpose of constructing and opening a new supermarket location on the corner of South Fourth Street and Fay Street.
However, multiple interruptions during demolition progress have delayed the contract deadline for demolition completion that was set between Aldi and the city of Fulton.
An initial deadline of June 1, 2016, to present a build-ready site for Aldi was bypassed and resulted in an amended contract.
For the site to be considered build ready, all 2.5-acres specified in the contract need to have all buildings demolished and cleared as well as layering and compressing material one foot at a time to bring the site to ground level as it currently sits anywhere from four to six feet below grade.
City officials approved the purchase of crushed brick on site from Infinity Enterprises with the intent to bring the site to ground level using the crushed brick.
However, geologists representing Aldi discovered that core sample results indicated that the crushed brick was not suitable to be used for the building site and instead found that Aldi needs to purchase pilings.
Instead, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. said the crushed brick will be used for the area designated to Aldi’s parking lot and other areas of the remainder of the 24-acre site, while gravel will be used to layer and compress the foundation of the Aldi’s building site.
For that reason, the amended contract lowered the sale price of the site from $450,000 to $350,000, taking a loss in sale price that is equitable of the price that Aldi will spend on pilings.
Additionally, the amended contract pushed the completion deadline back to the end of November 2016.
As we enter the second month of 2017, Mayor Woodward emphasized that Aldi is still interested in the site and demolition remains ongoing through the winter to the best that weather conditions allow.
An Aldi representative recently confirmed this information to Oswego County Today.
“Construction on the Fulton store will begin this spring, with the hope to open the store in early fall,” said Aaron Sumida, Tully Division Vice President for ALDI.
Giving a small preview of what can be expected from the store, Sumida added, “Once opened, the new store will be modern and easy to navigate, with more room for customers’ favorite products, inviting colors, high ceilings and natural lighting. Today’s ALDI stores are also built with environmentally friendly materials such as energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.”
According to Mayor Woodward, a new request from Aldi representatives calls for a large building on the former Nestles site that is not part of the intended Aldi site to be demolished to better establish visibility of the store from the main road that enters the city, State Route 481.
“They would like the biggest building down that sits on 481 so that people entering the city can see their store,” Woodward explained. “We are focused on getting all those buildings down by March.”
Woodward said the city intends to close with Aldi sometime in March as well.
Aldi’s representative, Sumida said that demolition of this building would not halt the closing process.
“Demolition will continue while we are under construction,” Sumida said.
Last week, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a $350,000 grant awarded to the city of Fulton through the state’s Restore New York Communities initiative that is expected to help with the continued progress at the former Nestles site.
“It can be used for several things,” said Mayor Woodward, listing site prep for Aldi, infrastructure, roads, manholes, and street paving as a few examples.
For the site designated for Aldi, Woodward said the money could help offset costs related to bringing the site up to grade, putting in road, or sewer hooks, among other possibilities.
“In the bid documents, it specifies that Aldi wants the site compressed. For the entire site, more than two acres, we have to put a foot of material down, compress it and level it and then start with a new layer. Aldi’s geologists will test each level as well. That’s just to ensure that it’s level and doesn’t settle on one side or anything,” he explained of the process that will require renting equipment that the grant money can be used for.
Additionally, Woodward said that they have already borrowed money for water and sewer lines and piping but that only paid for the materials, allowing the grant money to be used for applying the water tap to the site.
“Once Aldi is in, we will work on the rest of the site and we will already have a water tap there, then any new buildings can just tap in” he said.
While he said $350,000 won’t go very far, it’s very helpful to the city and the continued focus on the demolition progress for both the incoming Aldi location as well as the 24-acre site as a whole.
“We have to look at it and talk through the options,” he said.
With Aldi as the primary focus, Woodward is optimistic that the site will quickly bring more interested parties to purchase a portion of the site once completed.
“When Nestles closed, we lost 24 acres of assessment. We really aren’t going to get huge manufacturing back, but we already have interest in two, three, four acre parcels to different people, that’s going to help city tax rates and bring some jobs,” Woodward said.