First St. resurgence planned

— For most of this year, village government has heard plenty from two property owners, Val Lamont and John Gormel, who each own parcels in the basin block bounded by Lower First Street, Lake Drive and South Willow Street.

At the village board’s monthly meeting on Dec. 16, however, trustees heard from another basin block property owner, JGB Properties, which owns approximately three acres there, on which are located the former municipal parking lot and several other First Street parcels.

JGB Properties representative Christine Stevens told board members, although the recession has slowed JGB’s development plans there, “We remain committed to this project.” Following the village’s Comprehensive Plan guideline, Stevens said JGB plans a mixed-use development to accommodate both commercial and residential tenants.

The Comprehensive Plan calls for mixed-use, high-end development which would help increase village population. “And that’s exactly what we’re planning,” Stevens said.

The end result would include between 50 and 75 residential units, Stevens said, and an unspecified number of commercial storefronts.

Because many issues such as stormwater management and parking availability have yet to be ironed out, JGB anticipates working with engineers and architects for about six months before bringing a site-review plan to the village Planning Board.

In 2009 and ’10, JGB renovated the 147-year-old Liverpool Shoppes building at 401-403 First St., where it now leases nine modern apartments.

JGB has yet to decide whether the buildings it constructs on Lower First Street will house rented apartments or condominiums, Stevens said, although she’s personally leaning toward condos.

“Apartments are great,” she said. “But there’s a lot of turnover, so it’s better if the units are sold. The families who move in will remain village residents for years. They’re your future taxpayers. Condos are in everybody’s best interest.”

The developer has entered into preliminary talks with banks about financing the project, Stevens said. JGB is also in the process of purchasing a small sliver of land in the middle of the basin block from the village and swapped some land there with Liverpool Properties. “So now we have nice, clean property lines,” Stevens said.

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