Feedback: Developer Pulls Out Of West Carthage Project
COR Development, the company which planned to build a huge housing and retail complex that could have nearly doubled the population of the tiny village of West Carthage, has pulled out of the deal.
COR Development was working with Lunco Development to put together a mix of apartments, town homes, stores and restaurants on North Broad Street in the village, but West Carthage Mayor Scott Burto tells 7 News that COR has pulled out of the deal.
"The proposal that they had on the table with the village of West Carthage Planning Board had been removed and is done," said Burto.
Burto's comments come on the heels of last week's announcement that COR will move forward with redeveloping the Mercy Care Center complex in downtown Watertown.
Burto said he's happy for Watertown.
"It's just unfortunate it came at the cost of our project," said Burto.
But, some contradictory information surfaced Tuesday afternoon.
James Wright of the Development Authority of the North Country provided 7 News with a memo which indicates COR backed out of the deal three months before Mercy closed its doors.
The memo, dated January 3, 2013, was written by COR General Manager Steven Aiello to Michael Lundy of Lundy Development & Property Management in Carthage.
"Dear Mike: I am writing to advise that we have determined that the contingencies in our purchase agreement cannot be satisfied and the agreement is therefore terminated as of this date," the memo reads.
It concludes by requesting that COR's purchase agreement deposit be returned.
"COR indicated that they had completed a market study; the market study did not support the financing necessary," said Wright.
When asked if the Mercy Care Complex played a role in COR's backing out of West Carthage, Wright said that wasn't the case and that "the timeline supports that."
Lundy, meanwhile, says he doesn't think COR's actions were malicious and doesn't feel the rug was pulled out from under him.
Lundy said COR had an opportunity to do a great project in Watertown and COR is the right company for the job.
Lundy says he is trying to line up another developer because he believes in the West Carthage project.
The West Carthage project included 390 apartments and 150 town homes to be built the 70-acre vacant parcel.
On the retail end, a 40,000-square-foot big-box retail store was proposed, along with a sit-down restaurant and four smaller retail buildings.
Burto said the project itself is not dead.
"From our local developers' perspective, they're still pursuing some type of development to include a mix of housing and business at the existing site," he said.
COR built the Towne Center Plaza in the town of Watertown, where Target is located, and is building an apartment complex nearby.
There's now a question over what happens to the $2 million grant COR received from the Regional Economic Development Council for the West Carthage project.
"It was reviewed by the Regional Council and supported because Fort Drum and housing are regional priorities," said Wright, who is a member of the council.
Burto said the money should stay with the West Carthage project, but Wright says it's up to the state to determine whether or not COR still meets the council's requirements with its plan for Mercy.
COR had not returned calls as of Tuesday.
Thursday, December 12, 2013, Watertown, NY
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