It seems the Town & Country Plaza on Route 20 in Cazenovia will be undergoing substantial modifications during the next year.
Property Developer David Muraco, of Empire Management Company, recently announced that Family Dollar will not be moving into the 8,750-square-foot retail space, but another national retail business has its sights set on utilizing the location.
“The Family Dollar deal fell through. [These are] hard times; people aren’t knocking the doors down … to open up stores. There aren’t a lot of loans out there and people are worried about moving forward. It’s a cycle,” Muraco said. “[Family Dollar] can always come back, but I’m working on another retailer that would be great for the community. I think it will go very quickly.”
While he said he cannot divulge the name of the prospective retailer at this time, Muraco believes its inclusion in the Town & Country Plaza will be better received by Cazenovians than Family Dollar was initially this summer.
When Family Dollar announced it would be adding a store in Cazenovia, the grand-opening was scheduled for September. Regulations regarding competition with Tops Supermarket and other businesses in the plaza slowed negotiations, and changed the expected opening date to early 2012. Family Dollar eventually halted plans altogether earlier this month.
Muraco was upset to lose the deal, but is confident in the prospect of soon filling the space. “I made the vacancy,” he said. “I pulled the liquor store out and canceled a lease with a chiropractor therapist because I needed to make this big space, and now my deal is falling apart. But I’ll bounce back.”
Another possibility for the plaza will be the razing a fraction of the structure which formerly housed Kimberly’s Ice Cream and the inclusion of a Tops gas station in its place. Muraco said the national grocery company filed an application on Feb. 2 to include two islands with gas pumps on the lot neighboring Route 20.
“Tops just put an application in — they want to take the corner of the shopping center and they’re going to put in fuel pumps,” Muraco said. “We’re realigning the shopping center. We’ll actually add 45 parking spaces because of this.”
Tops recently built a gas station on East Genesee Street in DeWitt. Using points acquired through grocery shopping, customers are able to receive fuel at discounted prices.
Muraco also explained the recent closure of 32 cabins at Motel Cazenovia on Route 20, which he owns. Due to decreased usage and increased concern about uninvited inhabitants, Muraco has left the 11 rooms closest to the road open and available for lodging year-round. The closed cabins have been boarded up, and remain so, until there is a need for them.
“We’re not manning these things every day. We could have people off the streets living in there, we could have kids breaking in and holding a party in there,” Muraco said. “I had to [close the rooms] for liability reasons.”
Muraco said he will continue moving toward the acquisition of a demolition permit for “Ender’s House,” a structure he owns on Route 20.
Amid concern from residents and area historic and preservation foundations, he is looking to turn the property into a green space, available for development in the future. Muraco filed for a permit from the town of Cazenovia, and estimates he will receive an answer by May.
If denied, Muraco said he will take legal action. “It’s not a threat. It’s just a matter of what I have to do.”
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.