Aug 14, 2009 Ami Olson Uncategorized
Extra chairs were needed for the Aug. 4 public meeting regarding the proposed Marcellus Main Street development project.
More than 60 residents gathered at the Marcellus Fire Department Community Room to hear Village Planning Board members and Emanon Equities representatives talk about the project and answer questions.
Planning Board Chair Dick Kelley refreshed the crowd on the responsibilities and authorities of the board, and explained that although the project had already been granted sketch plan approval, it was still a long way from fruition. Approvals from many other agencies, including the Department of Conservation and Department of Transportation, would be required for the project to get the green light.
“Everybody can have their say, but not everybody can have their way,” Kelley said, emphasizing the obligation the planning board has in weighing the input from a multitude of entities, including community members.
Developer Jeremy Gorelick of Emanon Equities then outlined the proposed project, which would create a street-front mixed use building that would include 5,000 square feet of commercial retail space, 5,000 square feet of commercial office space, and seven apartments. The building mix new construction and existing “Monster Mansion,” which would be renovated. South of the mixed-use building 33 townhouses are planned, though 17 would have to wait until the village’s sewer capacity was capable of handling the additional residences.
“This is a community where people care about where they live, that’s why all of you are here tonight,” Gorelick said.
One of the major concerns residents expressed was whether a brand new retail space would sit empty in a village that already has too many vacant storefronts.
“If you build something to this standard, they will be full within a year,” Kelley said. “I almost guarantee it.”
He used Syracuse’s Armory Square as an example of how quality, well thought-out design is a recipe for success in otherwise business un-friendly territory.
“You build something good, it’s going to fill up,” Kelley added.
But Mary Ann Czerniak pointed out that the village of Marcellus is a different animal than the city of Syracuse.
“There’s a different culture to Marcellus,” she said. Not only would Gorelick have a hard time filling the building, but it could draw existing business out of other village spaces, which would still result in vacant properties, Czerniack argued.
Gorelick admitted there was no guarantee, but in answering another resident’s question, pointed out that the venture would be privately funded and is a bigger risk to his own pocket than anyone else’s.
“As much as you wouldn’t like to see uninhabited townhouses, I wouldn’t want to build and pay interest on uninhabited space,” he said. The numbers and research had already indicated that the project would be economically feasible, or else he wouldn’t be shopping in Marcellus.
Gorelick said he hopes to have all the required approvals in hand for the Aug. 12 planning board meeting, and that winter of this year was the target date for final approval of the project.
For more information or to see sketches of the proposed Main Street Development, visit the village offices.