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North Country News

Project To Redevelop Blighted Property Approved By Plattsburgh Planning Board

Lakeside Apartment flooding, Spring 2011
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Lakeside Apartment flooding, Spring 2011

In the spring of 2011, Lake Champlain reached record high levels and historic flooding occurred.  In Plattsburgh, a low-income housing complex along the lakeshore was condemned.  On Monday, the Plattsburgh City Planning Board approved plans to redevelop the 3-point-3 acre property.
The former apartment complex on North Margaret Street known as Lakeside Apartments was a 117-unit complex built in 1960. It was assessed at $1.8 million dollars in 2007.    

When it flooded five years ago, the complex was owned by Montreal businessman Collin Niemi.  Plattsburgh city officials had threatened to fine Niemi because he failed to address flooding damage.  In 2015, a Montreal real estate investment company purchased the property and this January local investors from Plattsburgh paid $1.15 million dollars to acquire it.   

TRB Development and Plattsburgh Bay Commons LLC plan to redevelop the area by demolishing the existing buildings and constructing two townhouse units.  A third building will host a commercial and retail center.  Rob Boire  (“boy-er”) is a principle with TRB Development.   “We’ve already got a lot of people looking to move in there and a lot of retail people looking to move into the retail space.  So what the banks’ always looking for is security.  And if we’ve already got either pre-signed leases or sales that’s what they want to see.  And we certainly have that.”

The Plattsburgh City Planning Board approved the site plan Monday evening with conditions to the stormwater management plan.  Project developers can now obtain financing and building permits.

Boire adds that this property is one of only a handful on the lakeshore open for development.  He notes that the plan incorporates some public access to the lakeshore.   “It’s on the lake.  It’s in the city.  It’s close to the highway.  It’s close to the ferry.  It’s along the Lakes to Locks bike path.  Just very convenient and who would pass up lake frontage to live on the lake, as long as it’s affordable.  There’s certainly accessibility.  There will be sidewalks that lead to the retail and they extend further through courtyards along residences and down to the water.  There’s access to the water from a brick pavered patio with a small retaining wall around it and some stairs that go down to the sandy beach. So there’s certainly some pathways down there.  We’re inviting it to the retailers for sure and if you want to venture down more towards the water you’re welcome.”

The project is on the far north end of Ward 5.  City Councilor Becky Kasper, who represents that area, says action on the property has been stagnant due to the previous owner.  She is excited to see the redevelopment plans approved.   “It’s been a blight and it’s been a draw for crime as well. And to have this wonderful building going up is just going to really send a strong message about where the city is going.  Here we are, we are the ‘City on the Lake’ and we just don’t have a lot of property that can actually be developed.  For me this really compliments what we were able to do with the marina, to take advantage where we do have places along the lakefront. Where people can go and they can do a little shopping. They can have lunch. It’s prime real estate, no question about it.”

The Commons at Plattsburgh Bay project will be completed in three phases.  The first two construct the residential buildings. Phase three builds the retail space.

The developer expects to begin demolition of the existing buildings within a month and begin construction this spring.  Phase one could be complete by winter.