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Camillus Cutlery: What's next?

Two years after Camillus Cutlery Co. officially closed its doors, the blighted industrial property looks to be on its way to a second life, this time as a mixed-use business, commercial and residential center being touted as a "wellness community" by developer Tom Blair, of Sweet Spot Development in Skaneateles.

Plans for the Camillus Mills community include one- and two-bedroom apartments, dedicated senior housing, a food court, an aquatic spa area, medical and health-oriented business and commercial spaces and some boutique retail spots -- all accessible without leaving the 'enclosed loop' facility.

"If you live on one side of the complex and you want to access the market or hot tub and spa, you can lock your door, leave and walk through the walking bridge and common ways all the way to the other end of the complex without having to go into the weather," Blair said.

But if you aren't familiar with the term "wellness community," don't worry -- that's the point. Blair said the concept of Camillus Mills is unique.

"We do believe there's nothing like it," he said.

Big plans for a big project

The former cutlery site is poised to undergo major renovations, beginning with the removal of manufacturing machinery and cleaning up the industrial site to meet environmental regulations. Blair said about 80 percent of the creek-side building would need to be demolished, but that the project would adaptively reuse as much of the existing structure as possible.

Blair and the village of Camillus recently reported the Camillus Mills project received $2.5 million through Restore NY grants, and as excitement builds around the development both parties want to make sure expectations are realistic.

"Absence of physical construction does not mean absence of a project," Village of Camillus Mayor Kurt Brunger said. "If you don't see stuff happening outside, it's doesn't mean that work isn't happening. It's not a bad sign or a sign that the project is in jeopardy."

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