Service Industry

City to decide on waterfront construction

By: JOE LoTEMPLIO

PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors will decide tonight which way they want to go with a key waterfront property.

On the table are two proposals: one from Navtours, of the Bahamas and Quebec, and one from Plattsburgh Boat Basin, operator of a marina next to the city property and the Naked Turtle restaurant.

Both businesses are offering to provide boating, recreation and food services at the Dock Street Landing site.

The council is meeting tonight instead of Thursday due to the July 4 holiday. The meeting begins with a work session at 5 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 5:30 p.m.

BUILDING VACANT

The each plan to develop and operate a city marina, renovate the 2,500-square-foot building on site to provide food service and offer kayaking, bicycles, in-line skate rentals and other recreational services.

The restaurant building has not been used since it was damaged by flood waters in May 2011. It used to house Clare and Carl’s, the downtown location of a well-known local restaurant, but the owners opted not to renew their lease.

Both Navtours and Plattsburgh Boat Basin have made several presentations to Lake City Local Development Corp., the city’s development arm, in hopes of landing a deal to operate the property.

If a deal is struck, the marina and the building will still be owned by the city but operated by the developer.

THE BIDS

The developer would be responsible for the cost of renovations to the building, but those expenses would be deducted from lease payments.

Plattsburgh Boat Basin is offering a lump-sum payment to the city of $60,000 if the municipality pays for and maintains all capital improvements and $45,000 if the company pays all capital-improvement costs.

Navtours is offering to pay the city an annual building rent of $12,000, plus 10 percent of marina revenues, which are estimated to be about $10,700, for a total payment of about $22,700.

The Development Corp. endorsed the Navtours proposal in its report to the council.

“Navtours will pay less money to the city, but we think other city objectives are as important or more important, and Navtours is more likely to achieve them,” the report read.

PITCHES

At the council’s Infrastructure Committee meeting last Thursday, Arthur “Sonny” Spiegel of Plattsburgh Boat Basin said they have been successful in the marina business in the city for a long time and can continue that trend.

“We have operated what is, without a doubt, one of the most successful, most in-demand marinas on Lake Champlain for 17 years,” Spiegel said.

Yanik Aube of Navtours said he believes his company can make the area attractive to visitors.

“It’s not about Navtours. It’s about people from Plattsburgh and all around enjoying the lake,” he said.

The developer that is selected by the council will negotiate a final deal with the city before actually starting its development.

‘ALL ENTHUSIASTIC’

Mayor Donald Kasprzak does not have a vote in the decision unless the council is deadlocked.

He is not supporting either proposal publicly.

“While we are all enthusiastic and anxious about waterfront development, I am uncomfortable supporting either proposal at this time,” he said.

“There are still many questions left to answer, and my preference would be to allow a new mayor and council more time to pursue the details as a priority for 2014 instead of choosing a developer now.”

Kasprzak, who is not running for re-election, said he believes that while mulling the choice, the city could pursue boat-mooring revenue at the downtown site and at Wilcox Dock for next year.

“It will be interesting to see how the Common Council will approach this issue at Tuesday’s meeting,” the mayor said.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

Published: